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If the names George Stone or Stewart "Dirk" Fischer don't ring any musical bells, stay tuned. Fischer is a jazz educator/musician and the brother of noted West Coast pianist/composer/arranger Clare Fischer. George Stone, a former student, has decided that the time is ripe to present this showcase of Dirk Fischer's compositions, plus a few others that he has frequently performed. The result is a stirring example of big band jazz with spirited ensemble passages and fine individual solo efforts. The Fischer compositions are quite attractive and are augmented by tunes written by Blue Mitchell, Tad Dameron and Benny Golson. Some of the players involved are Gary Foster, Clare Fischer, Bob McChesney, and Bill Liston.
The album begins with a jaunty "Hamilton Allen Esquire," sounding much like the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band of decades past, with guitarist Steve Gregory providing a tasty solo. Blue Mitchell's "Melody for Thelma" is highlighted by Bob McChesney's trombone. Leader George Stone, who appears on piano and vibes elsewhere on the album, gets some trumpet solo space on Dameron's "Our Delight" and Benny Golson's "Whisper Not," also noted for the work of David Becker on baritone sax. Pianist Clare Fischer, whose own band has featured some of these compositions, displays his skills on "Donde." Altoist Gary Foster shines on "Plea For Deductive."
As noted in the liners, some of the charts were composed or arranged more than 35 years ago, yet they still have a strikingly vivid and fresh sound on this exciting example of Left Coast jazz.
Track Listing: Hamilton Allen Esquire, Calamus, Plucky, Let Me Count the Ways, Roci, Our Delight, Donde, Whisper Not, Plea for Deductive, Escalera, Hurry Home, Tonito, And Freckles/All Ta'Once.
Personnel: George Stone, trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, vibraphone; Gene Buirkert, David Becker, Bill Liston, Hohn Heer,reeds; Charley Davis, Jeff Nunnell, Paul Shaghoian, Glen Marhevka, trumpet,flugelhorn; Eric Jorgensen, Bob McChesney, Michael Steinman, Steve Wilson, trombone; Richard Bullock, bass trombone; Steve Gregory,guitar; Trey Henry, Ken Hustad, Gary Pratt or Ron Suffredini,bass; David Tull,drums; Roger Johnson, percussion.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.