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Walter Fischbacher: Moments

C. Michael Bailey By

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Austrian-American pianist Walter Fischbacher has been a steady New York City presence for over 20 years. He is one half of a NYC music power duo, the other half being vocalist (and his wife) Elisabeth Lohninger. Together, the pair make records and ran Lofish Studios, which transitioned to Lofish Music in 2015. He is involved in several different projects at any one time, one of them being his solo performance as on the present Moments.

Fischbacher's pianism on Moments can be described as percussive, muscular, assertive, precise, tuneful, informed, and intelligent. A more than capable accompanist, as readily revealed on any of his recordings with Lohninger, Fischbacher bears down and stretches our alone. All these characteristics are apparent in the opening original "New Days" where Fischbacher established a loquacious rhythmic pattern over which spread block chords before taking a more tender, if slightly anxious, turn on the song's interior, before returning to the driving head. Fischbacher's insistent rhythm drive propels Paul Desmond's "Take Five" from its quiet, intellectual origins into a thundering juggernaut on which the pianist spends the most time on the disc investigating.

Fischbacher's reading of Richie Beirach's arrangement of "All The Things You Are," pulls that old bebop standard into a twenty-first century harmonic reconsideration, nervous and anticipating. He straightens out his mood as he adds a solid backbone to "On Green Dolphin Street," giving the piece a brief and dense orchestral treatment. He makes Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" bounce, while toning everything down to ballad level for his own "Morning Flower." Fischbacher gives instrumental treatments to three songs from his and Lohninger's most recent recording, Soul Garden (Lofish Music, 2017). The title piece opened that recording, played here more pensively: hesitant and thoughtful. He reprises George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," approaching the piece cautiously at first before splitting it open slowly with a dramatically-conceived evolution that ends up thundering. The final song is his and Lohninger's masterpiece, "Take My Picture While I'm Smiling." Fischbacher rolls all of those soulful churchy chords into a celebratory musical conversation that can only result from cross-cultural intersections and seasoned respect.

Track Listing: New Days; Take My Picture While I’m Smiling; Moments; While My Guitar Gently Weeps; Take Five; All The Things You Are; In Your Own Sweet Way; Morning Flower Azul; Days of Wine and Roses; Mellow Moon Moaning; On Green Dolphin Street; While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Reprise).

Personnel: Walter Fishbacher - piano.

Title: Moments | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Lofish Music

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