Pete Clute was an internationally respected jazz and ragtime pianist. For 28 years he was a featured member of Turk Murphy’s Jazz Band. Born in Ross in 1933 and raised by his grandmother (his mother died six days after his birth), Mr. Clute started piano lessons before he was 5 years old. He attended Marin County schools, graduating in 1951 from Tamalpais High, where he played in the dance band and learned to handle professional charts and arrangements. With his older brother, Cedric, Pete became a junk-shop sheet music and jazz record collector; and, through radio broadcasts, a fan of the New Orleans jazz styles as played by such San Francisco musicians as trumpeter Lu Watters, trombonist Turk Murphy and especially pianist Wally Rose. Mr. Clute entered Stanford in 1951, majoring in economics and history. He frequently moonlighted to play with Murphy, clarinetist Bob Helm and others. In 1954, he left Stanford, replaced Rose in Murphy's band for a year, then returned to Stanford, graduated in 1956 -- and rejoined Murphy. From 1957 to 1983, Mr. Clute was the keyboard mainstay of the Murphy band, whether on the road or in San Francisco, where, in 1958, they operated Easy Street at Powell and Bay. In 1960, he and Murphy opened the first Earthquake McGoon's club on lower Broadway, moving in 1962 to the old William Tell Hotel site on Clay Street where, for 16 years, McGoon's was the world's best known trad-jazz club. In 1978, McGoon's moved briefly to an unsatisfactory Embarcadero location. Murphy's band began drifting around town and Mr. Clute quit, joined the Natural Gas Jazz Band and played regularly at the Gold Dust Lounge with banjoist Carl Lunsford, another Murphy alum. In the 1990s, Mr. Clute played and traveled regularly with Natural Gas; also with Lunsford in duet, and sometimes with other Bay Area bands. He was featured at jazz and ragtime festivals and organized and produced a number of trad-jazz weekend events in the greater Monterey Bay area. He and his wife, Carol, moved to Jackson five years ago. He performed on more than 20 LPs and composed a number of piano pieces and band scores.
A pictorial celebration of traditional jazz, from the 30s through till today. Includes selective bibliography and recording index. Fully illustrated throughout. "One of theunaccountable gaps in the gaudy history of San Francisco - the story of trad jazz and its practitioners - has at last been filled! This long-overdue account steps to the lively beat of a young and pleasure loving city, and will make all San Francisco philes even sorrier that they were not on hand, snapping their fingers, kicking up their heels, far into the endless nights.. "Herb Caen, San Francisco Chronicle" Soft cover 10" X 8" 160 pages, illustrated