THE ICON: Pete Fountain
THE LEGACY:He was born Pierre Dewey LaFontaine, but by the time it was all done, he was one of those rare talents who needed but a single name: Pete. Whether his bright, uplifting brand of “swinging jazz” was lighting up the nation’s televisions during one of his frequent appearances on “The Tonight Show,” at one of his eponymous New Orleans clubs, or on the streets of the city as part of the Half Fast Walking Club he helped found, Pete Fountain was for decades a smile-spreading — and undeniably cool — ambassador for the city he loved so dearly, and the musical art form he helped popularize.
THE ARTIST: Alexandra Kilburn, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “I always said every note of his had a smile on it. Jazz is made up of a lot of emotions — joy, sadness, melancholy, humor, bombast. It happens to be what you’re feeling at the time, but with him, he could play the blues and make it sound so sweet.” — clarinetist Tim Laughlin, talking about Pete Fountain