361

Clare Fischer: America the Beautiful

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
America the Beautiful is a union of two unassuming vinyl big-band albums by composer/ arranger/ pianist Clare Fischer: Extension (from the early ’60s) and Songs for Rainy Day Lovers (released in 1978). Although Fischer is widely known for his proficiency in blending Latin temperaments and rhythms into the framework of contemporary jazz, only “Canto Africano” from the earlier album and “I Remember Spring” from the later embody either of those elements. The rest is straight-ahead jazz, essentially of the mellower variety (especially, as one would expect, on Songs for Rainy Day Lovers, which comprises the album’s last eleven tracks). The title selection, taken at a leisurely pace, is performed by a string orchestra with guitar and harp most prominent along with Fischer’s piano.

On the earlier album (tracks 1-8), devoted exclusively to Fischer’s original compositions, the leader’s well-equipped ensemble is enhanced by the presence of the underrated tenor saxophonist Jerry Coker who forges bracing solos on “Ornithardy” and “Extension.” Another selection, “Bittersweet,” is a sensuous showcase for Don Shelton’s alto saxophone. Rainy Day Lovers consists of seven standards and four of Fischer’s compositions, “When Autumn Comes,” “Sleep Sweet Child,” “Opener” and the aforementioned “I Rememberr Spring.” There are times when the understated design isn’t far removed from the romantic stylings of Jackie Gleason, Percy Faith and others.

Curiously, the sound on Extension, recorded well over a decade before Rainy Day Lovers, is the better of the two, with less intrusive clicks, pops and surface noise to lessen one’s appreciation of the music. But audio quality is less than satisfactory throughout, which alone would be enough to rule out a positive endorsement. The charts are fine; Fischer sees to that. But there’s not enough electricity on Rainy Day Lovers to power a decent-size light bulb, and in spite of some nice low-key swinging and admirable solos by Fischer and Coker, Extension hasn’t nearly enough muscle to shoulder the enterprise.

Contact: Clare Fischer, P.O. Box 1563, Studio City, CA 91614; e-mail clarefischer@thegrid.net. Web site, www.clarefischer.com


Track Listing: Ornithardy; Quiet Dawn; Bittersweet; Igor; Extension; Soloette; Passacaglia; Canto Africano; On a Clear Day; A Time for Love; I Remember Spring; America the Beautiful; I

Personnel: Clare Fischer, piano, organ, with orchestras (personnel unlisted). Sidemen on tracks 9-19 include Gil Falco, trombone; John Lowe, piccolo; Vince Terri, guitar; Gerald Vince, violin; Bob West, bass; Larry Bunker, Nick Martinis, drums. Special guest artist

Title: America the Beautiful | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: CFP


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "For Free" CD/LP/Track Review For Free
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Polygon" CD/LP/Track Review Polygon
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane" CD/LP/Track Review Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Duopoly" CD/LP/Track Review Duopoly
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Beguiled" CD/LP/Track Review Beguiled
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Chicago II" CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.