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Clare Fischer

Born on October 22, 1928 in Durand, Michigan, Clare Fischer is an uncommonly versatile musician, a master with many muses. Trained in the classics, inspired by jazz artists, healed by the rhythms of Latin and Brazilian music, his eclectic sound finds expression in every chart and instrument he touches.

A veteran studio musician and a composer of rare quality, Fischer began his studies in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at South High School with director of music, Glenn Litton. After receiving his master's degree in composition from Michigan State University, where he studied with Dr. H. Owen Reed, he traveled extensively with "The Hi-Lo's" as pianist-conductor for 5 years. About the same time, his musical ascension began with his critically acclaimed arrangements for Dizzy Gillespie's "A Portrait of Duke Ellington." Fischer's influences, absorbed along the way, are as distinct as his music: Stravinsky and Shostakovich, Bartok and Berg, Dutilleux, boogie-woogie pianist Meade Lux Lewis, Nat "King" Cole, Duke Ellington, Bud Powell and early Lee Konitz - Fischer's self-expression knows no boundaries.

"I relate to everything," he explains. "I'm not just jazz, Latin, or classical. I really am a fusion of all of those, not today's fusion, but my fusion."

In 1983 classical concert artist Richard Stoltzman commissioned Fischer to write a symphonic work using Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn themes. The resulting composition, "The Duke, Swee'pea and Me," features Stoltzman on clarinet, and is performed with symphony orchestras around the world. More recently Fischer was commissioned by Stoltzman to write a "Sonatine for Clarinet and Piano" in three movements, which he has recorded with RCA on his album, "American Clarinet" and is being published by Advance Music in Germany.

In 1986 Clare won his second Grammy Award - this one for his album, "Free Fall," the first having been won in 1981 for his album, "Salsa Picante plus 2 + 2." Since that time he has spent more time as a jazz educator, performing solo piano concerts and conducting clinics and master classes in universities and music conservatories in Scandinavia, Europe and throughout the United States.

In the last few years Clare has appeared in Paris, Finland, Norway, Germany with the WDR Big Band, Holland with the Metropole Orchestra, Austria at the Vienna Konzerthaus and in Mexico City at the Ollin Yol�-tzli Concert Hall in a concert commemorating the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim on the anniversary of his death in December, 1996. In October of 1998 he performed at the Choro Festival with Hélio Delmiro in Sáo Paulo, Brazil and returned in July, 2000 for a three-city tour in that country with Delmiro. In May 2001 Clare completed a European tour teaching master classes and performing solo piano concerts in four countries.

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11
Album Review

Cal Tjader: Catch The Groove: Live at the Penthouse 1963-1967

Read "Catch The Groove: Live at the Penthouse 1963-1967" reviewed by Troy Dostert


It would be unusual to hear vibraphonist Cal Tjader mentioned alongside the all-time greats on his instrument. He is not remembered for being a fearless improviser like Bobby Hutcherson, or as deeply soulful as Milt Jackson, or as hard-swinging a presence as Lionel Hampton. Moreover, one will search in vain in his biography for the hard-fought personal struggles that have typically been the bread and butter of jazz legend: no tortured tales of substance abuse, or bouts with poverty or ...

10
Album Review

Clare Fischer Big Band: Pacific Jazz

Read "Pacific Jazz" reviewed by Jack Bowers


The late Dr. Clare Fischer enjoyed a long and storied career as a composer, arranger, pianist, bandleader and educator, primarily on the West Coast. Luckily, one of those he educated was his son Brent who was at his father's side as a musician and adviser for more than three decades and has safeguarded the Fischer legacy since Clare's passing in January 2012. Pacific Jazz, the second album by the Clare Fischer Big Band under Brent Fischer's supervision, consists of music ...

2
Album Review

Clare Fischer: After the Rain

Read "After the Rain" reviewed by Jack Bowers


The late Clare Fischer, best known as a multi-award-winning jazz composer / arranger, also had a classical side, one that is paramount on this engaging album whose themes were written over an extended period of time from Fischer's days as an undergraduate at Michigan State University to his later years as a renowned jazz artist whose extensive body of work has been acclaimed by musicians and fans all over the world. The portfolio is divided into three ...

5
Album Review

The Clare Fischer Orchestra: Music for Strings, Percussion and the Rest

Read "Music for Strings, Percussion and the Rest" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Is this beautiful music, wonderfully played? Definitely. Is it jazz (or anything close to it)? Afraid not. Music for Strings, Percussion and the Rest is chamber music with a classical temperament, colorful and captivating, written (presumably over a period of some years) and conducted by one of the giants in that field, the late Dr. Clare Fischer. As the title denotes, strings and percussion are predominant; as for “the rest," Fischer employs a small orchestra composed primarily of reeds (no ...

5
Album Review

Clare Fischer Orchestra: Extension

Read "Extension" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


The late 1950s and early 1960s saw a change in the approach to big band arranging. Voicings and colorings became more luxuriant, and the palettes began to include more pastels; classical harmonies began to creep in to charts. Gil Evans brought the arranging prowess he developed in the Claude Thornhill Orchestra and the the Birth of the Cool recordings of 1949-50 (compiled and released on Columbia Records in 1957) to his partnership with trumpeter Miles Davis for three ...

65
Album Review

Clare Fischer Orchestra: Extension

Read "Extension" reviewed by Troy Collins


When composer Clare Fischer passed away on January 26, 2012, he left behind a diverse legacy. Spending the late 1950s as pianist and arranger for The Hi-Lo's before working alongside Dizzy Gillespie and Donald Byrd, Fischer finally attained greater recognition in the 1960s for his contributions to the then burgeoning Latin jazz and bossa nova craze, including writing the standard “Pensativa."Conceived and performed exactly as he intended, Extension is his masterpiece. Recorded in 1963, the album is a ...

361
Album Review

Clare Fischer: America the Beautiful

Read "America the Beautiful" reviewed by Jack Bowers


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 ...

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"He is one of those rare musicians who truly understands music, not only with his mind but first and most importantly with his heart and soul. His music never stops evolving." —Daniel Cytrynowicz, Feb. 1999

Frank Macchia
composer / conductor
Lisa Rich
vocals
Brent Fischer
composer / conductor
Quinn Johnson
keyboards
David Post
vocals

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Catch The Groove:...

Jazz Detective
2023

buy

Extension

International Phonograph Inc.
2014

buy

Music for Strings,...

Clavo Records
2014

buy

After the Rain

Self Produced
2014

buy

Pacific Jazz

Clavo Records
2014

buy

Thesaurus

Concord Jazz
2012

buy

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