Pete Fountain has been synonymous with Dixieland jazz since the late '50s, and it makes sense that he would record with the New Lawrence Welk Orchestra, since he originally rose to fame playing his music during special features on The Lawrence Welk Show between 1957 and 1959. This ghost band is not that similar to its predecessor, as it features swinging arrangements by guitarist Bob Bain (a veteran of the Tonight Show Band and Bob Crosby's Bobcats) that mostly last three to four minutes and serve to showcase the clarinetist. Throughout his career, Fountain has covered a lot of material found on this release, including "Tin Roof Blues," "Basin Street Blues," and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," and he settles in quite well in his first big-band recording in nearly three decades. His improvisations within "Georgia on My Mind" and "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" are somewhat adventurous. The arrangement of "Summer Wind" was influenced by Nelson Riddle's chart for Frank Sinatra, but it is a little bland compared to the other tracks. Fans of Pete Fountain will no doubt enjoy this release.
Big Band Blues Review
by Ken Dryden