Jeffrey Fisher's talent and love for music, combined with passionate dedication, led to his success as a prolific composer and performer in groups across the United States. Upon moving back to Southern California’s San Jacinto Mountains, he began composing his latest album, OCEAN OF CONSCIOUSNESS, which expresses the underlying elements of familial love, nature and new beginnings.
The cover art, a painting by Taos-based artist Charles Collins, lends the album its title. An ongoing friendship between the artists hearkens to the period when Fisher was immersed in the art, music and theater world of Northern New Mexico; there, he composed his album TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT in collaboration with Collins’ series of paintings. During that period, Fisher also founded his recording label Healing Music of the Southwest, recorded six albums of music for healing and massage, and performed with the late jazz great Frank Morgan and with Spanish music legend Antonio Apodaca.
While being totally immersed in his music, Fisher’s personal exploration of Self also revealed in him an artist, author, Reiki healer and teacher of Tai Chi Chuan. In fact, the ever-present influence of Tai Chi philosophy is evident throughout his life, particularly in his stylistic music choices and the tone and meaning of the pieces he composes. Never has this been more apparent than with OCEAN OF CONSCIOUSNESS, which is a 2-CD set inspired by both The Bhagavad Gita (Disc One) and nature (Disc Two: The River). These works reveal a new maturity in Fisher’s dual interests; an exploration of ancient answers for today’s world of war and politics, balanced with a respectful tribute to the indomitable force of nature in our personal lives.
Last year saw the release of the orchestral suite TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT, as well as the album FAIRY TALES, a commissioned ballet based on the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, which won the Adding Wisdom Award and the iParenting Media Award.
Current projects, besides Fisher’s continuing work on his off-the-grid mountain ranch “Satyagraha” (Gandhi’s term for his non-violent resistance movement), include touring to promote his current album OCEAN OF CONSCIOUSNESS and preparing the publication of his book WHITE CLOUD JOURNEY.
Fisher postponed work on OCEAN OF CONSCIOUSNESS in 2006 to compose a commissioned ballet project, resulting in a live production titled “Hans Christian Andersen” in Palm Springs, California. The music -- both child- and adult-appropriate – was released as FAIRY TALES, a CD which won both the iParenting Adding Wisdom Award and the Parent to Parent Media Award in 2007.
Also released in 2007, Fisher's TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT album uses the sounds of orchestral instruments to create music reflective of humankind's consciousness serving as the bridge between the heavens and earth. "There is an evolution of the human spirit that will triumph over the forces of darkness," explains Fisher. "It's a progression of enlightenment that leads to understanding both our world and our place in the universe."
Although he has played many different types of music, from rock to jazz, during his career, Fisher chose to make TRIUMPH’s music orchestral, because he feels the sounds from these symphonic instruments are universal. "European musicians created and refined the instruments in a symphony orchestra over hundreds of years. Those sounds are proven to affect the listener's mind, body and spirit in a positive and uplifting way. Yes, this music can be looked at as 'modern classical music' because of the instrumentation, but many of the melodies and motifs are more influenced by jazz, blues and pop-rock than by traditional classical repertoire. The idea is not to mimic or re-configure Beethoven, but to create something new for today's audience." While the melodies and instrumentation are mentally stimulating, the music also resonates deeply within the listener on several levels. This combination provides a calming and relaxing atmosphere for enjoying the music which allows the recording to fit well into new age lifestyles from massage therapy to Reiki.
"Because I've played in various kinds of bands and orchestras all my life, I hear the sound of each instrument, and have studied their combinations. I work in a very traditional way, using score paper to put down each instrument. However, today's composers have something that did not exist in the past: a digitized orchestra. This allows the composer, in a cost-effective way, to achieve his or her vision exactly, to paint freely with the sounds."
Fisher is an incredibly versatile musician who has professionally performed new age, world music, neo-classical, traditional jazz, blues, rock'n'roll, folk and R&B. He has played more than a dozen different instruments, and is highly proficient on piano and acoustic standup bass. He also has five other previous neo-classical/new age CDs (Moon Song, One Hundred and Eight, Clouds, The Healing and Angels of the Rays), several specifically designed for healing and massage therapy. Other compositions include works for string quartet, solo piano, marching band, jazz band, jazz vocals, woodwinds, and acoustic bass in various ensemble settings.
Fisher has performed with jazz great Frank Morgan, the Thelonius Monk-inspired traditional jazz group Evidence Quartet, the Charles Connally Texas Blues Band, Stax Records vocalist Lee Sain, folksinger Sun-Day Martinez, Spanish music legend Antonio Apodaca, world-music bandleader Achyutan, and New Mexico's Trio Jalapeno, among others. Fisher even performed Gaelic music on ice instruments at a ski resort situated at 11,000-feet elevation.
Beyond the world of music, Jeffrey is a truly eclectic person. He is an accomplished painter (oils and watercolors) who has exhibited in both museums and galleries. He has published five volumes of poetry and a book on Chinese philosophy and martial arts (T'ai Chi Basics). He teaches T'ai Chi Chuan; gives acupressure, reiki and reflexology treatments; and lectures widely on nutrition and healing. Over the years he has taught a wide variety of skills to others including music, painting, writing, cooking, mathematics, philosophy, and general "educational improvement." When he wasn't making a living playing music, Jeffrey worked at a variety of jobs including designing and building stage sets off-Broadway, being a motorcycle messenger in New York City, tuning pianos, working in a print-shop and book-bindery in San Francisco, "bucking hay" (stacking bales), picking cherries, cleaning acequias (irrigation ditches) in New Mexico, running art galleries, framing pictures, and building houses (and other construction jobs).
Jeffrey attended Pomona College, where he studied writing, music, acting and experimental theatre. An avid reader, especially of French poetry and the Beat Generation writers, he found the academic world too limiting and at the age of 17, left for San Francisco to work on his writing. After attending the Aspen Writers Workshop and New York University's School of the Arts, Fisher moved to Buffalo to attend the state university and studied everything from computer languages and neuro-physiology to William Blake and vibraphone. Inspired by playing in a popular local rock band and attending the original Woodstock Festival, Fisher began learning guitar and decided to study the origins of blues guitar. He spent several years playing in coffee houses and bars, and traveling across the country several times, one memorable night spent hanging on to the back of a cross-country freight train with one hand while the other held his 1945 Epiphone acoustic guitar. Fisher ended up in Berkeley where he started playing electric guitar on the blues and R&B "chittlin' circuit" backing legendary artists. Eventually he switched to standup bass and began to explore the world of jazz with his own group.
After going south and undertaking several years of intense musical studies in Los Angeles, Fisher graduated from the Grove School of Music in Los Angeles with a certificate in composing and arranging, and went on to study under top teachers to further explore film scoring, orchestration and acoustic bass performance taught by Terry Plumarie and Frank Tusa.
Fisher eventually moved out of the metropolis to focus on composition and painting. In the early Nineties, he composed and performed his first full-length orchestral composition, and also enjoyed the first solo museum exhibition of his paintings. Fisher relocated to New Mexico for nearly a decade and lived in a small village outside of Taos. Fisher began teaching T'ai Chi, a method for training the mind and body. "T'ai Chi is the basis for my own philosophy and my life, and is integral in preparing me to create music," he says.
Fisher returned in recent years to the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs, the area where he was born and raised. His home, ranch and studio run on solar energy and are totally off-the-grid. He often uses nature as inspiration for his art, whether it is fruit groves in his paintings or naturalness in his music.