Jim R

Clare Fischer

49 posts in this topic

I recently became very aware of how much I enjoy the Clare Fischer tune "pensativa" (just started a thread about that in the Musicans forum, BTW). This has led me to be curious about Fischer, whom I've never really investigated. While searching for info on "pensativa", I discovered his website: Clarefischer.com

I'm intrigued by some of the CD's I see listed there, but I don't think I've heard much of any of the contents. So... this thread is designed for anybody out there who knows Fischer's work to (please) clue me in...

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's a graduate of Michigan State University. He's done master classes there. I don't know much of his music, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's a graduate of Michigan State University. He's done master classes there. I don't know much of his music, though.

He is also from my home town, Grand Rapids, Mi.. He and my father went thru high school together..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only have one Fischer album, Extension, a 1963 Pacific Jazz lp [PJ-77].

I see that it was finally released on cd coupled with a dubitable mid-70s Songs For Rainy Day Lovers. The title of the cd is America The Beautiful... :huh:

Extension is quite great. Pleasant low key compositions and arrangements and a primo big band [bud Shank, Sam Most, Larry Bunker, et al]. With just the right touch of Afro-Cuban. A scarcely recorded Jerry Coker and Fischer are the only soloists. On alto Coker sounds like a magna cum laude Lee Konitz disciple.

A not to be missed album, imo.

Fischer was affiliated with Cal Tjader in the late 50s, perhaps later as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have three or four of his Pacific Jazz titles, and they're great . . . I especially like his debut trio recording!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice, that debut trio album 'First Time Out'. It also enabled listeners to get acquainted with Gary Peacock!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A maddeningly inconsistent artist, but one with one of the most acute harmonic senses around nevertheless. When he's good, he's fascinating, and when he's not, he's just WAAAAY cheesy.

He recorded Guarabe w/Tjader in 1976 for Fantasy, and what I've heard of it has been excellent - nice loose grooves with harmonic ambition that might well be called audacious. His contributions to and in the Latin Jazz idiom are nothing to sneeze at, and his tune "Morning" is somewhat of a standard in that idiom. Still, he can either be brilliant or quesodic in that bag as well.

His AMG Profile gives a good list of all his accomplishments. An artist whose highs make the lows all the more curious, but one for whom I'm willing to take the risk. The guy has a lot to offer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone else out there automatically assume that Clare Fischer was a woman (without having seen any pictures or read anything about him, only just seen the name)? Yes, I admit it: I'm dumb! :winky:

I only know of his work on Hubert Laws In the Beginning, which has some extraordinary keyboard playing by MR. Fischer! ;) B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember some nice work on Revelation Records LPs.

Not sure if they ever made it to CD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw Clare Fischer a couple of times with Cal Tjader and enjoyed his work both times with the Tjader group. I own the Fischer cd "Rockin With Rhythm" it's one of his jazz group with voices effort with a Brazilian slant and I like it a lot. I visited his web site and checked out the discography which had several efforts along those lines recorded back in the early 80's one of which was a grammy winner. I had one of them but stupidly parted company with it-why I don't know because I liked it too now both of them are OOP :angry: . If you like that kined of approach then you might like "Rockin In Rhythm". Fischer among his many collorabirations include several apperances on Santana solo cd's. A very talented man is Clare Fischer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only have one Fischer album, Extension, a 1963 Pacific Jazz lp [PJ-77].

I see that it was finally released on cd coupled with a dubitable mid-70s Songs For Rainy Day Lovers. The title of the cd is America The Beautiful... :huh:

Extension is quite great. Pleasant low key compositions and arrangements and a primo big band [bud Shank, Sam Most, Larry Bunker, et al]. With just the right touch of Afro-Cuban. A scarcely recorded Jerry Coker and Fischer are the only soloists. On alto Coker sounds like a magna cum laude Lee Konitz disciple.

A not to be missed album, imo.

Fischer was affiliated with Cal Tjader in the late 50s, perhaps later as well.

Clare is one of those artist that really deserve the term "underrated" IMO ..

I have both of the LPS you mention ( Extensions and Songs for Rainy Day Lovers )

but I havent played them in years ..cuz no working turntable!

I've alway enjoyed his work as a composer /arramger ..he has touches of the Johnny

Mandel approach in his string and woodwind stuff and the Extensions big band had one of

the best sax section solis I ever heard ..if I remember correctly ..

needless to say, he's also a wonderful pianist ..and whoever mentioned his unique harmonic sense was right on the money ..

thaks for the hedz up on his website ..I'll have to see if those

LPs have bee remastered for CD..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm afraid most of the CDs with his works are OOP.

His arrangements for Dizzy Gillespie's 1960 Verve CD A Portrait of Duke Ellington constitute one of the most original takes on Ellington material ever recorded.

He is a master of authentic Brazilian and Cuban music; I'm still waiting for Pacific Jazz CDs of So Danco Samba and Manteca.

He had two tenures with Tjader, one off and on from 1960 to 1962 (mostly as arranger, alternating at the piano with Lonnie Hewitt), his arrangements on Fantasy FCD-24775-2 Cal Tjader Plays Harold Arlen & West Side Story are fantastic; and a second from 1976 to 1978, the Fantasy CDs FCD-24743-2 Here And There and FCD-24777-2 Cuban Fantasy represent that.

The two Verve albums with Tjader he was on during the former period are OOP: Verve 815 058-2 Cal Tjader - Sona Libré (great!) and Verve 543 380-2 Cal Tjader Plays The Contemporary Music of Mexico and Brazil.

He had a great Latin band with Poncho Sanchez during/after his second stay with Tjader that cut several LPs for MPS, there is a selection on the MPS CD Latin Patterns: The Legendary MPS Sessions.

His list of credits as an arranger is enormous and ranges from Gillespie to Rufus. His own Californian big band was excellent, Thesaurus is currently available, although Fischer himself favoured the OOP Discovery CD for sound.

The cover photo of the latter should clear any doubts about his gender and was the initial inspiration for my buying this album:

e096766wslv.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies so far. I'm beginning to get a better sense of what Fischer is/was about, and this info will help me to sort out the variety of works he has recorded.

 

I'm not a huge big band fan, and haven't as yet developed too much fondness for the fusion of jazz and classical, but I'm probably as open as I've ever been to both of those aspects of his work. For now, though, I suppose I'd like to focus on his piano recordings ("Just Me", or "Alone Together", which seems to have gotten some impressive reviews) or smaller group Brazilian sessions (the "Symbiosis" session with Helio Delmiro looks intriguing, for example).

 

One thing I'm aware of is his use of electric (or as one of the website's descriptions described it, "digital") piano. Apparently he fell in love with a particular brand of acoustic piano at some point, but I don't really know how long he's been recording with it. I don't really have anything against the non-acoustic variety per se, but I would have to admit that I do prefer the sound of an acoustic, given a choice.

 

I'm a wee bit confused regarding the availability of some of his recordings. There's something on the website about older recordings (aside from those reissued on the list of CD's for sale) possibly being available by special request. I'm not quite ready to order anything anyway, but has anybody ever investigated that option (or bought any of the CD's available through the site)? Mike- "So Danço Samba" was one that I had in mind! B) BTW, I wonder if there could be any overlap between that and Bud Shank's "Bossa Nova Jazz Samba", on which Fischer plays piano and composed 7 of the 8 tracks (available as part of the Shank CD on Ubatuqui "Bossa Nova Years").

 

Oh, FWIW, here's a link to that thread on "pensativa" (in the Musicians forum, which sees less action...):

 

 

I don't know whether I've heard his composition "Morning"... I'll have to look into that. Any album/CD references including that tune are welcome...

Edited by Jim R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Morning" is on the Tjader cd "Here and There". I believe a version of it was on that Clare Fischer album that I stupidly parted company with and there is a version of it on the Poncho Sanchez cd "Afro Cuban Fantasy" that features a vocal by Diane Reeves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Jim, I guess you know that Sir Clare was on Joao Gilberto's '92 album Joao, right?

c3920103ue2.jpg

I also see where he's on my wife's favorite Christmas album. That'll make that a little more enjoyable! :g:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clare Fischer also shows up on electric piano on the excellent Art Pepper 'Tokyo Debut' album on Galaxy recorded during a 1976 Japanese tour by the Cal Tjader Septet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know whether I've heard his composition "Morning"... I'll have to look into that.  Any album/CD references including that tune are welcome...

"Morning" is also on Poncho Sanchez' debut LP "Poncho" on Discovery DS-799 (1979, Fischer playing and arranging) and Fischer's "Salsa Picante" (1978, MPS 15.539 or Discovery DS 817 - Poncho played in that band). Might be the tune that he himself recorded the most often.

As far as his use of electric keyboards is concerned - he always does it with more taste than most others. And he never neglected his playing of acoustic pianos for them. There are plenty of acoustic solo piano LPs on Revelation, Discovery and MPS, I have three of them and find them all excellent. He even recorded an LP of solos on a baroque pipe organ for MPS (Clare Declares) that swings like mad. The voicings he uses for the keyboards are in the same vein as his writing for a woodwind section or voices.

I LOVE his woodwind writing on the Gillespie album or "Extensions". He uses low reeds to even better effect than Gil Evans!!! Check out "Blues Trilogy" on Discovery, if you can get it!

c53655h20nc.jpg

Trend/Musicraft/Discovery seems to be out of business, it seems?

Edited by mikeweil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Jim, I guess you know that Sir Clare was on Joao Gilberto's '92 album Joao, right?

c3920103ue2.jpg

.... um.... yeah- YEAH, of course, Al... of course I knew that! (... he said, as he realized that he had forgotten to list Fischer in the personnel for that CD in his database...) :w

brownie Posted on Dec 17 2003, 11:17 PM

  Clare Fischer also shows up on electric piano on the excellent Art Pepper 'Tokyo Debut' album on Galaxy recorded during a 1976 Japanese tour by the Cal Tjader Septet.

Can somebody explain to me why that album doesn't seem to be part of Pepper's "Complete Galaxy Recordings" set? Was it not yet released at the time they released the box?

Mike,

Thanks a lot for all the info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can somebody explain to me why that album doesn't seem to be part of Pepper's "Complete Galaxy Recordings" set? Was it not yet released at the time they released the box?

Just a wild guess! This first came out in Japan as a Polydor CD and it probably was not available to Galaxy when they released the Complete Art Pepper box.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a wild guess! This first came out in Japan as a Polydor CD and it probably was not available to Galaxy when they released the Complete Art Pepper box.

That's the way I see it too; it probably was a Japan-only release on Polydorat the time by special agreement with Fantasy, as both artists had contracts with Galaxy, which belongs to the Fantasy group. There were a lot of (limited edition) issues of Japanese performances that never were made available elsewhere (or only as import).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, that makes sense... although it's still disappointing that I couldn't just go and select the disc from a set with 16 frigging CD's!! :rolleyes:^_^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody heard the 'Latin Side' album Clare Fischer recorded with the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra?

That NMO seems to have made a number of albums (for the Austrian TMD label) that should be interesting. Musicians like Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Zoot Sims, Bill Holman, Nick Brignola and others have recorded CDs with them. I have a 'A Flower Is a Lonesome Thing' CD on Koch Jazz which has Bud Shank and Bob Cooper (not together) soloing with the NMO.

They even list an album by Dutch (??) singer Greetje Kauffeld 'My Favorite Ballads' where the NMMO backs the singer with specials guests Stan Getz and Thad Jones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Metropole Orchestra/Lee Konitz album is a gem. Some of the most relaxed, lyrical Konitz on record, and I think the arrangements for the orchestra make that possible. Highly recommended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He recorded Guarabe w/Tjader in 1976 for Fantasy, and what I've heard of it has been excellent - nice loose grooves with harmonic ambition that might well be called audacious.

My dad use to play this one around the house all the time when I was growing up. I have a soft spot for this one. Fine music!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The two Verve albums with Tjader he was on during the former period are OOP: Verve 815 058-2 Cal Tjader - Sona Libré (great!) and Verve 543 380-2 Cal Tjader Plays The Contemporary Music of Mexico and Brazil.

The "Contemporary" album was released as a Verve By Request a few years back, and is still readily available cheap!

Anyone heard Cal Tjader's Cuban Fantasy, which prominently features Fischer? He damn near steals the show with this remarkably lyrical playing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.