A brilliant trombonist who has spent much of the past 40 years playing commercial music in Las Vegas, Carl Fontana occasionally emerges to remind listeners just how technically skilled he is. The son of a saxophonist, Fontana started out playing in his father's group during 1941-1945, but did not gain prominence until he was with Woody Herman's Orchestra (1952-1953). Fontana spent time in the big bands of Lionel Hampton (1954), Hal McIntyre (1954-1955) and most importantly Stan Kenton (1955-1956), being well-featured with the latter. After playing in Kai Winding's four-trombone band (1956-1957), Fontana moved to Las Vegas but he emerged on an occasional basis, touring with Woody Herman in 1966, recording with Supersax (1973), co-leading a group with Jake Hanna (1975), playing with the World's Greatest Jazz Band, and appearing at jazz parties. In 1995, Fontana recorded a fine album with Bobby Shew.
~ Scott Yanow
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