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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Clare Fischer born 22 October 1928

Douglas Clare Fischer (October 22, 1928 – January 26, 2012) was an American keyboardist, composer, arranger, and bandleader. 

His parents were of German, French, Irish-Scot, and English backgrounds. In grade school he started his general music study with violin and tuba as his first instruments. At the age of 7 he
began to pick out four-part harmony on the piano. After two years of piano lessons the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where 12-year-old Clare began composing classical music and making instrumental arrangements for dance bands.  
He started his own band at 15, for which he wrote all the arrangements. After graduating in 1946, he began undergraduate studies in 1947 at Michigan State University, majoring in music composition and theory, and studying with H. Owen Reed. During his teens there were no funds for him to study piano, so he was mostly self-taught. Therefore his major instrument in college was cello, and piano a minor. Later he changed his major to piano and minor in clarinet.  

Fischer graduated in 1951 with a B.M., cum laude, and began his first year of graduate work in composition. The U.S. Army drafted him the next year, sending him to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for basic training. There he played alto saxophone in the band and ended his service as an arranger at the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, N.Y. After the army, Clare returned to Michigan State. In 1955 he received his Master of Music.  

After graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to Los Angeles in 1957, working as accompanist and arranger for the Hi-Lo's. He wrote for a 1960 Dizzy Gillespie album (A Portrait of Duke Ellington) and recorded bossa nova as early as 1962; that same year he recorded two trio sets and the following year he led his first big band date.  

He released more than 50 albums under his own name in a recording career that began in 1962 with the album "First Time Out."

              Here's "Toddler" from above 1962 album 

Clare Fischer has had a varied career as keyboardist, composer, arranger, and bandleader. The composer of two standards, "Pensativa" and "Morning," Fischer has long had an interest in Latin rhythms.  

Fischer, who has alternated between the two formats through the years, has recorded in a wide variety of settings from solo piano to heading a vocal-dominated Latin group Salsa Picante. Based in Los Angeles, Fischer (who was also an effective organist and a strong electric keyboardist) has recorded extensively through the years for such labels as Pacific Jazz/World Pacific, Revelation, Discovery, MPS, and Concord. 

Beginning in the early 1970s, Fischer embarked on a parallel career (and by far the more lucrative one), eventually becoming a much sought-after arranger, providing orchestral "sweeteners" for pop and R&B artists such as Rufus (with Chaka Kahn), Prince (a regular client from 1985 on, and by far Fischer's most frequent employer in this vein), Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and many others. His arrangements for strings are truly a revelation. Fischer's first music credit in film was for Prince's "Under the Cherry Moon." 

Fischer was also in demand as a studio keyboardist, performing, composing or arranging for commercials, film and television scores, and for more than 100 albums for other artists. 

His own diverse ensembles included the Latin group Salsa Picante; the vocal group 2 + 2; his Clarinet Choir; and the 30-piece band Clare Fischer's Jazz Corps. He also performed solo on piano and paired with Donald Byrd, Gary Foster, Jerry Coker and others.
He won two Grammy awards, in 1981 for "Clare Fischer and Salsa Picante Present 2+2" and in 1986 for "Freefall." Fischer's first classical recording, 2001's "After the Rain," was a collection of his symphonic works. 

On January 8, 2012, Fischer suffered a cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, following a minor surgery a few days before. His wife of 18 years, Donna, was at his side and performed CPR. He remained in ICU on life support, and died on January 26, 2012.
 (info various but edited mainly from Wikipedia & AMG)


boppinbob said...

For Clare Fischer – First Time Out (1962) – go here:

1."Nigerian Walk" (Ed Shaughnessy) - 7:02
2."Toddler" - 4:40
3."Stranger" (Gary Peacock) - 4:00
4."Afterfact" - 4:06
5."Free Too Long" - 7:30
6."Piece for Scotty" - 3:13
7."Blues for Home" - 5:09
8."I Love You" (Cole Porter) - 5:13

Clare Fischer - piano
Gary Peacock - bass
Gene Stone - drums.

WOODY said...

Thanks a lot for this album, as I knew CF up to now from his collaboration with the HI-LOs Band as pianist and Musical Director, so it's fine to listen to him on the piano as a trio.