“I wouldn’t be me without Clare Fischer. (He) was a major influence on my harmonic concept. I was in awe of him.” The praise for keyboardist, composer, arranger Fischer stems from no less than jazz great Herbie Hancock. Fischer’s (1928-2012) influence has spanned the gamut of modern music. Nominated for 11 Grammies, Fischer arranged for the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Al Jarreau, Paul McCartney, and Michael Jackson. In 1985 he began a many-year collaboration with pop artist Prince, writing some 40 orchestral arrangements, including music for Prince’s movies Under the Cherry Moon, Graffiti Bridge, and Batman. Fischer is also known for his playing and composing Latin music. Pensativa and Morning have become Latin jazz standards; in 1981 won a Grammy for best Latin record.
On Clare Declares Fischer plays an Austrian-made Rieger pipe organ. Jazz Toccata in C Minor begins with a hip tip of the hat to J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Bach would have dug the hard-swinging amalgam of jazz and classic. Fischer takes the pop ballad If and gradually turns it inside out as he moves away from the tune’s melodic roots. Autumn Leaves has a “mysterioso” feel with clashing close-knit chords – it all swings and a double-time section burns. I’ll Take Romance is a ¾ romp on this standard – the most “in” of the bunch – with something of a circus air; just when you think this is straight-ahead swinging jazz waltz Fischer throws in some polyphonic outness. On Cherokee, Fischer takes to the warpath as he races through an up-tempo version of this evergreen. The musical miracles that Fischer performs should make a true believer out of every listener!