I have always enjoyed writing for large ensembles. The aural colors available by combining a wide variety of instruments are limitless. It’s been an absolute delight, not only to have written over the years, but to have shared music with my son Brent. As director of all my bands for nearly a decade, he knows exactly how I like things done and has been able to elicit consistently superb interpretations from the players. He has also carried on my style as a writer, giving me a deep sense of satisfaction. Following are his liner notes. It is my sincere hope you will enjoy listening to it as much as I.
-- Clare Fischer
Sometimes music is geared to be consumed and forgotten. Then there are times when artistic creativity is of such magnitude that it can transcend temporal boundaries and provide benefit to civilization far beyond its original creation date. I firmly believe such is the case with my father and inspiration, Clare Fischer.
The works on this CD have been written over the years simply for the exhilaration felt when creating. It gets even better when, putting the charts in front of great musicians, it sounds exactly as imagined! Use of an uncommon harmonic and orchestrational vocabulary, expecially with lesser known instruments mixed in, is a hallmark of the Fischer sound and that tradition continues here:
City by the Lake – Originally a commission from Roland Paolucci for the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, this piece is quintessential Alban Berg meets Duke Ellington; in other words, classic Clare Fischer. The outstanding Trumpet solo is by none other than Carl Saunders.
In The Beginning – A big band arrangement of my father’s composition for Hubert Laws’ classic album of the same name. Featuring soulful solos by:
Lee Callet Baritone Sax
Rob Verdi Slide Sax
Scott Whitfield Trombone
Bob Sheppard Alto Sax
Alex Budman Alto Clarinet
Clare Fischer Keyboards
For Steve – Dedicated to the memory of Steve Bohannon, a good friend of my father. This is an exotic blend of polytonal blues, funeral dirge and unusual orchestral colors featuring double Woodwind and Trombone sections.
Step Up – Featuring the 30 piece Clare Fischer Jazz Corps, this composition shows what I have gleaned from more than three decades working with my dad. I can’t thank all of the soloists enough for their incredible contributions:
Don Shelton Alto Sax
Bill Reichenbach Bass Trombone
Rob Verdi Contrabass Sax
Scott Whitfield Trombone
Alan Steinberger Piano
Dave Stone Bass
Steve Huffsteter Trumpet
Coisa Numero Dois -- In Portuguese, this means “Thing Number Two”. Our family friend and noted Brazilian composer Moacir Santos wrote this and about ten other “things” during his amazing career. Clare Fischer has taken it into an other worldly setting. The thoughtful solos are by Rob Hardt and Quinn Johnson.
Cal’s On – This piece originally existed as a single melody line on a piece of paper. For years as I was growing up it just sat there on Dad’s piano. I read through it and thought it was one of the most ingenious lines I had ever encountered. I asked him if he had chord changes to go with the line. He said yes, it was all worked out in his head. I then asked him to write down the changes before he forgot. More years passed by. Finally in frustration, I wrote in large letters at the top of the page “WRITE DOWN THE CHORDS, DAMMIT!” That spurred him to put on paper what had been floating in his head all those years. This recording was recovered from tape and was done in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Because information was lost during the arduous process of converting 50 years of Clare Fischer recordings into digital form, I can’t tell for certain who is playing except that I’m on Vibes and Dad is on Keyboards.
Isfahan -- Classic Strayhorn blended with the orchestrational sensibilities of Shostakovich and Stravinsky like Clare Fischer does best. The phenomenal solos on here are by Alex Budman on Alto Sax and Ron Stout on Trumpet.
Man Is No Damn Good – An epic discourse on the ills of commercial society skilfully blending influences from Charles Ives, Bela Bartok and Lee Konitz in grand Fischer tradition. Soloing impressively through changing meters are Ron Stout on Trumpet, Andy Martin on Trombone and Alex Budman on Alto Sax.
Blue Requiem -- Inspired by attendance at the funeral of acclaimed drummer Jeff Porcaro and recorded on to tape years ago, this piece actually is an uplifting blend of profound emotion and intensely driven harmonic juxtapostion; as one tension is released, so is another created to drive momentum.
Stoltz – Dedicated to good friend, patron and world class Clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman. Ever mindful of history, this piece shifts through different eras, integrating them into a stepping stone for the future of timeless art. Presented here is the mastery of Alex Budman on Clarinet and Bill Reichenbach’s marvelous solo on Eb Valve Trombone.
It has been a pleasure helping my father get closer to the goal of having all his written music recorded. We’re not finished yet but this is the next step in that process.
-- Brent Fischer
Dr. Clare Fischer All Compositions/Arrangements (except where noted), Keyboards on 6 and 9, solo on 2 and 6
Brent Fischer Conductor, Composer/Arranger on 4, Vibraphone
Don Shelton Soprano/Alto Saxes, Clarinet and Flute except on 2 and 7
Alex Budman Alto Sax, Clarinet, Alto Clarinet, Flute and Piccolo
Bob Sheppard Alto Sax on 2
Gary Foster Alto Sax, Clarinet on 3
Steve Marsh Soprano/Alto Sax on 7
Jeff Driskill Tenor Sax, Clarinet and Flute on 3, 4, 5, 8
Glenn Morrissette Tenor Sax, Clarinet on 1, 2, 3, 10
Sean Franz Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet and Flute except on 7
Phil Feather Tenor Sax on 7
Bob Crosby Tenor Sax on 7
Gene Cipriano Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet on 3
Rob Hardt Tenor Sax on 10, guest solo on 5
Lee Callet Baritone Sax, Clarinet and Flute
Bob Carr Bass Sax, Contrabass Clarinet, Flute and Piccolo except on 2 and 7, Tenor Sax on 10
Nancy Newman Bass Sax on 7
Rob Verdi Contrabass Sax on 4, Sopranino Sax on 3 and 5, Slide Sax guest solo on 2
Rob Schaer Trumpet and Piccolo Trumpet on 1, 3, 5, 8 and10
Pete de Siena Trumpet, Flugel and Piccolo Trumpet except on 3
Ron Stout Trumpet, Flugel and Alto Bugle
Carl Saunders Trumpet and Flugel
Steve Huffsteter Trumpet, Flugel and Mellophone
Larry McGuire Trumpet on 3
Josh Aguiar Trumpet on 7
Loren Marstellar Alto Horn on 4 and 10
Charlie Loper Trombone on 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8
Andy Martin Trombone on 1, 3, 5 and 8
Scott Whitfield Trombone on 1-5 and 8
Charlie Morillas Trombone on 2, 3, 4 and 10
Jacques Voyemant Trombone on 2, 3, 7 and 10
Dave Ryan Trombone on 7
Les Benedict Trombone on 3 and 7
Morris Repass Bass Trombone on 3 and 7
Steve Hughes Bass Trombone on 1, 2, 8 and 10
Bill Reichenbach Bass Trombone on 3, 4 and 5, Eb Valve Trombone on 4, 5, 8 and guest solo on 10, Trombone on 5, Eb Cornet on 3
Jim Self Tuba on 2, 4 and 5
Alan Steinberger Keyboards except on 5, 6 and 9
Quinn Johnson Keyboards on 5
Larry Koonse Special Guest Guitarist on 2
Dave Stone Bass except on 3 and 7
Zach Mathews Bass on 3 and 7
Ray Brinker Drums on 1, 2, 8 and 10
Ron Manaog Drums on 5
Kendall Kay Drums on 3
Dave Derge Drums on 7
Peter Erskine Drums on 4
Executive Producer: Clare Fischer
Producer: Brent Fischer
Recording Engineers: Bill Smith, Les Brockmann, Matt Brownlie
Editing Engineers: Matt Brownlie, Justin Merrill
Mixing Engineer: Greg Hayes
Mastering Engineer: Stephanie Villa at Stephen Marsh Mastering
CD Design & Layout: Eddie Iverson
CD Cover Concept: Brent Fischer and Donna Fischer
Cover Photo of starburst cluster courtesy of NASA, ESA, R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), F. Paresce (National Institute for Astrophysics, Bologna, Italy), E. Young (Universities Space Research Association/Ames Research Center), the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Produced by Brent Fischer for Clare Fischer Productions