Give Now

Night Lights Classic Jazz

Extension: Clare Fischer In The 1960s

For 50 years pianist, composer and bandleader Clare Fischer had one of jazz's most interesting careers, exploring Latin, bossa nova, and other genres.

Play Episode (Real Audio)
Clare-Fischer-Surging-Ahead

Photo: Album cover art.

Clare Fischer was a wide-ranging jazz artist in the 1960s, recording piano-trio, small-group and big-band albums, and working as an arranger and sideman with musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Shank.

Clare Fischer, who passed away on January 26, 2012, was a pianist, composer and bandleader whose influences are wide-ranging – from the post-World War II bebop and progressive jazz of pianist Bud Powell and saxophonist Lee Konitz to the dissonance flavorings of classical composers like Bartok and Shostakovich, from the tonal colors of Duke Ellington to rhythmic Latin jazz and bossa nova.

Though over the course of his career Fischer focused primarily on jazz, in recent decades he wrote for pop artists, including Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Prince, and delved into classical music as well. “I relate to everything,” he once said. “I’m not just jazz, Latin, or classical. I really am a fusion of all of those – not today’s fusion, but my fusion.”

The Artist’s Life

Fischer broke into the jazz world in the late 1950s as an arranger and pianist for the vocal jazz group the Hi-Los. By the mid-1960s he’d had made a good name for himself: Downbeat Magazine critics voted him the arranger most deserving of greater recognition, and in the same issue, fans voted favorably for him in five different categories: piano, organ, arranger-composer, small-combo, and big band. It was a tribute to Fischer’s diverse talents.

Extension: Clare Fischer In The 1960s features some of Fischer’s work in the piano trio form, including:

  • arrangements he wrote for the Hi-Los
  • arrangements he wrote for Dizzy Gillespie
  • two of Fischer’s bossa nova sides with alto saxophonist Bud Shank
  • several of his big-band recordings

For More Clare Fischer…

• Read an interview with Clare Fischer.

• Read Jazzwax blogger Marc Myers‘s interview with Bud Shank, which touches on the bossa-nova recordings that Shank made with Clare Fischer.

• Watch Bud Shank and Clare Fischer perform music from their bossa nova repertoire on “Frankly Jazz”:

Special thanks to Daniel Aguren and John Felser for their assistance with this show.

Music Heard On This Episode

Davenport Blues
Clare Fischer — Pacific Jazz Piano Trios (Mosaic Select, 2006)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Davenport Blues
Clare Fischer — Pacific Jazz Piano Trios (Mosaic Select, 2006)

Notes: Originally on the album SURGING AHEAD.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Mayforth
Hi-Lo's — And All That Jazz (101 Distribution, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
UMMG
Dizzy Gillespie — Portrait of Duke Ellington (Verve, 2005)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Afterfact
Clare Fischer — Pacific Jazz Piano Trios (Mosaic Select, 2006)

Notes: Originally on the album FIRST TIME OUT.

Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Joao
Bud Shank — The Bossa Nova Years (Fresh Sound, 1962)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Pensativa
Bud Shank — The Bossa Nova Years (Fresh Sound, 1962)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Canto Africano
Clare Fischer — Extension (Pacific Jazz, 1963)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

album cover
Ornithardy
Clare Fischer — Extension (Pacific Jazz, 1963)
album cover
Bittersweet
Clare Fischer — Extension (Pacific Jazz, 1963)
album cover
Morning
Clare Fischer — Manteca (Pacific Jazz, 1966)
album cover
So Danco Samba
Clare Fischer — So Danco Samba (Pacific Jazz, 1964)
album cover
I'm Beginning to See the Light
Clare Fischer — America the Beautiful
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Lennie's Pennies
Clare Fischer — Thesaurus (Koch, 2000)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Night Lights Classic Jazz:

Support For Indiana Public Media From

About Night Lights

Search Night Lights

where to hear night lights

This Week On Afterglow

Songs Of The Season: Autumn 2014

a road in autumn woods

Afterglow takes a musical stroll through the leaves with Chet Baker, Mark Murphy, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, and other serenaders to autumn.

Read more »

Afterglow is WFIU's weekly program of jazz and American popular song hosted by David Brent Johnson.

More from Afterglow »