New Orleans Jazz Clarinetist Pete Fountain Dead at 86 | NBC 7 San Diego
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New Orleans Jazz Clarinetist Pete Fountain Dead at 86

With his ready wit and infectious laugh, Fountain was the epitome of the New Orleanian who knew how to "let the good times roll"

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    AP
    In this March 8, 2011 file photo, Musician Pete Fountain tosses beads to a reveler from a float as his Half-Fast Walking Club marches down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day. Fountain, whose recording of "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" became the unofficial anthem for traditional New Orleans jazz, has died.

    Clarinetist Pete Fountain, whose Dixieland jazz virtuosity and irrepressible wit endeared him to his native New Orleans and earned him decades of national television fame, died Saturday of heart failure. He was 86.

    Benny Harrell, Fountain's son-in-law and manager, said Fountain was in hospice care in New Orleans when he died early Saturday.

    With his ready wit and infectious laugh, Fountain was the epitome of the New Orleanian who knew how to "let the good times roll." He was well known to television fans through his appearances on the Lawrence Welk and Johnny Carson shows. Even his blues had a happy note.