“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 And Ex-42 Fischer pulls out all the stops as he takes on the Yamaha ex-42 electric organ, and he has some of the West Coast’s best-known sidemen with him. On Gershwin’s classic standard Soon, Fischer’s dense chords flesh out emotive images the song didn’t even know it had. Fischer sensitively reinterprets Monk’s classic Round Midnight, staying close to the melody while giving the voicings a new texture. On Lennie’s Pennies Fisher and saxophonist Gary Foster navigate legendary pianist Lennie Tristano’s tricky-hip bop lines in unison, as Fischer turns the language of bop on its head. Fischer’s Blues in F starts off as a cool, slow blues. Fischer and Foster heat it up, smoking in and out of the changes before returning to the original feel. Crystal Sunrise is a Latin-inflected piece that exhibits Fischer’s amazing feel for Latin.