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Music Review: Clare Fischer Big Band – ‘Pacific Jazz’ Directed by Brent Fischer

With Pacific Jazz, composer, arranger, keyboardist Brent Fischer continues to honor the seminal big band work of his father, Dr. Clare Fischer. Gathering an ensemble of some 40 odd musicians, he guides them through a set of 13 tunes either with his father’s arrangements or his own based on the grooves he learned from his father. Indeed, as he explains in his liner notes, the elder Fischer was able to hear and participate in much of the music on the album before his death in January of 2012. Dr. Clare leaves big boots and with this edition of his big…

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Summary : Pacific Jazz is an album that would certainly have made Dr. Clare smile.

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With Pacific Jazz, composer, arranger, keyboardist Brent Fischer continues to honor the seminal big band work of his father, Dr. Clare Fischer. Gathering an ensemble of some 40 odd musicians, he guides them through a set of 13 tunes either with his father’s arrangements or his own based on the grooves he learned from his father. Indeed, as he explains in his liner notes, the elder Fischer was able to hear and participate in much of the music on the album before his death in January of 2012. Dr. Clare leaves big boots and with this edition of his big band. Brent Fischer makes clear he has the talent to fill them.Pacific Jazz

The album begins with the Charlie Barnet classic “Cherokee,” in an arrangement Brent calls “a complete re-imagining. It’s a freshly created aesthetic that’s still absolutely recognizable.”  It has, as you would expect, some standout solo work on trombone from Andy Martin, as well as Alex Budman on alto sax. Other classic pieces include Duke Ellington’s “Cotton Tail” and “Mood Indigo,” with keyboard work from Dr. Clare himself. There is an elegant solo keyboard rendition of “I Loves You Porgy.” “All Out” and “Eleanor Rigby” round out the roster of tunes from other composers, the rest of the album is made up of Fischer family originals.

Clare’s “Jumping Jacks” has Brent on guitar and vibes and a trumpet solo from Steve Huffsteter. His other works include “Passion” written when Clare was all of 16, “Blues Parisien,” and “Ornithardy” which concludes the set (and has a tenor solo from Bob Sheppard). Brent Fischer standouts are a happily volatile “Son of a Dad” and a bit of funk and rock in “New Thing.” His “Sad About Nothing Blues” has an added vocal with some dynamite scatting handled by Scott Whitfield and Carl Saunders preceded by some wild work from the ensemble.

Pacific Jazz is an album that would certainly have made Dr. Clare smile. If you like big band music creatively arranged and played by a talented group of professionals who know their way around their instruments, it will no doubt make you smile too.

 

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