Thursday, October 27, 2016

Intenso! - The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

"Clare Fischer was a major influence on my harmonic concept... I wouldn't be me if it wasn't for Clare Fischer."
—Herbie Hancock
"Everything the veteran composer/arranger/pianist does blends skillful craftsmanship with musical credibility."
—Legendary Music Journalist Don Heckman

There has been a flood of new music arriving at the editorial offices of JazzProfiles lately, much of it self-produced, some of which is quite good and worthy of your attention.

The full title of this feature should read: Intenso! - The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band Under The Direction of Brent Fischer. [Clavo Records CR601209]

It’s an important distinction for as Brent explains in this portion of the insert notes he wrote for the CD:

“It has been a positively intense experience growing up as Dr. Clare Fischer's son, learning from him, then making music with him for over thirty years. Four years now after his vibrant life ended, technology keeps it possible for us to play together again for this album, lntenso! .

We planned decades ago to record and release all of his music. That's why I captured his sound at the keyboard or with a small group in the comfort of his home during his last years so we could one day add other musicians where needed. Four albums and three Grammy® awards later, we are still at it!

All Clare Fischer Ensembles, including the Latin Jazz Big Band, continue to perform under my direction and this album is the latest result. The contributions of all the incredible musicians and every person who helped put this project together are deeply appreciated. Their artistry makes it possible for my creative vision to come to life. If you put the title of this album together with our last, you get Ritmo Intenso!, or Intense Rhythm, which is the main reason Clare Fischer devoted so much of his life to Latin jazz; it's the perfect setting for his extraordinary harmonies!”

Jim Eigo of Jazz Promo Services sent along the following background information as part of his media release for Intenso! - The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band Under The Direction of Brent Fischer. [Clavo Records CR601209].

“Featuring the keyboard mastery of Dr. Clare Fischer and the writing of both he and Brent Fischer. Special guests Sheila E, Roberta Gambarini, Luis Conte, Walfredo Reyes and many others plus 15 horns! This follow up to 2012's Grammy®-winning album, Ritmo!, is packed with intense Afro-Cuban and Brazilian grooves—the perfect vehicle for Fischer harmonies, Intenso!

This is Clare Fischer's last year to be eligible for posthumous Grammy® consideration, so Producer/Arranger Brent Fischer has pulled out all the stops, curating more previously unreleased tracks recorded during his late father Clare Fischer's life and setting them into a, well, intense surrounding of Latin Jazz Big Band arrangements replete with layers of virtuosic percussion.

Clare Fischer's legendary playing is heard on 7 out of the 10 new tracks, which are mostly Fischer originals with a few favorite standards completely reimagined. Besides Fischer's spellbinding improvising, we also hear solos by Roberta Gambarini, horn greats Carl Saunders, Ron Stout, Alex Budman, Rob Hardt, Kirsten Edkins, Scott Whitfield and Francisco Torres plus, of course, burning percussion solos from Sheila E, Kevin Ricard and Luis Conte.”

Artist website:

Brent wrote the following annotation for the Gaviota track which you can listen to on the audio-only soundcloud file posted below it. Just click on the white arrow in the red dot in the upper left hand corner.

Gaviota (Seagull) - Featuring the incomparable Roberta Gambarini on vocals! Besides Morning and Pensativa, this is also a Clare Fischer Latin jazz standard, having been covered by many artists including Poncho Sanchez and Roseanna Vitro using the Weaver Copeland lyric. As we performed this song over the decades with Dad's group, it underwent a subtle metamorphosis when he came up with extra keyboard ideas and the band adapted. This, then, is the final version of the song he first put on his album Machaca in the 70s. My horn arrangement is specifically tailored to the way he played it in the twilight of his life after so much creative evolution.”

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