Pete Fountain

Live at the Ryman

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Pete Fountain plays warhorses with such enthusiasm and delight that it often sounds as if he is discovering songs such as "Basin Street Blues" and "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" for the first time. On this typically excellent live performance Fountain, in a quintet that also features vibraphonist Godfrey Hirsch and pianist Merle Koch, really stretches out on lengthy versions of "Avalon" and "Up a Lazy River." Koch has well-played if somewhat slapdash features on "Little Rock Getaway" and "Kansas City Stomp" while Hirsch's vibes are well-displayed on "Stardust" (in the Lionel Hampton tradition). Even if "Stardust" gets a bit lost in a pointless detour into "Dixie," Fountain and company have a fine time throughout this very accessible swing/Dixie session (which would have benefited from some liner notes) that will probably be enjoyed by his fans.