Basin Street Blues – 1979

Al Hirt and Pete Fountain


The two New Orleans greats team up for an exciting version

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For many, trumpeter Al Hirt and clarinetist Pete Fountain symbolized New Orleans jazz in the 1960s and ‘70s, being its two most famous stars.

While both Hirt and Fountain made their most rewarding recordings in the late 1950s/early ‘60s, they were both still very much in their musical prime when they teamed for a concert at Wolf Trap in 1979.

On “Basin Street Blues,” they at first perform the piece at its usual relaxed tempo with affectionate interplay, trading off phrases and embracing the warm melody.

But then around the three minute mark, their performance goes into double-time and the results are quite remarkable as Fountain and Hirt play one blazing ensemble after another, really inspiring each other in memorable fashion.

-Scott Yanow


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