Sad About Nothing Blues
Son Of A Dad
I Loves You, Porgy
Clare Fischer Big Band
No recording date or location [74:28]
The late Clare Fischerís musical legacy is advanced still further in this release directed by his son, Brent, who also takes original material and entrusts
it to the Clare Fischer Big Band, some of whose members were part of original band over 45 years ago. Some of the best-known players in the current band
are cited on the cover booklet; Bob Sheppard, Alex Budman, Carl Saunders, Ron Stout, Scott Whitfield and Andy Martin. But itís the combination of soloists,
sectional work, themes and arrangements that makes the group and its records distinctive.
There are thirteen tracks with all arrangements being by one or other Ė or both Ė of the Fischers. Clare Fischerís arrangement of Cherokee for his
30-piece band is played here, though for reduced forces, now 18 in number. The jumping metres are wholly characteristic and the band plays highly
evocatively with first-class trombone (Andy Martin) and alto (Alex Budman) solos. I only regret the presence of the gloopy electronic keyboard.Jumping Jacks is a colloquial easy swinger and catchy to boot, like a kind of off-kilter Blues Brothers back beat number. Revoicing Ben Websterís Cotton Tail solo proves useful Ė two tenors and baritone is the solution that Clare Fischer came up with - and he proves an admirable admirer of
Ellington here. Brent turns up with New Thing, a kind of light soul, jazz-funk number. Passion was composed by Fischer Senior when he was
just 16 and the current bandís recreation of the 1940s Big Band ethos does it proud Ė rich tones and lyrical.
Sad About Nothing Blues
is another composition by Brent Fischer with lyrics written by Darlene Koldenhoven and sung by Scott Whitfield and Carl Saunders. I know that Clare Fischer
preferred the electric piano for its greater sustain and for the fact that it doesnít go out of tune but on every outing (and there are seven altogether) Ė
not least on Eleanor Rigby - it drives me up the wall; not Quinn Johnsonís fault as heís just obeying orders. Alan Steinberger has an easier time
of it on a proper keyboard. Brent gets funky on Son of a Dad with strong solos including one from Rob Verdi on the contrabass sax Ė and that
instrument would enrich any sax section. The recital ends with a classic Fischer statement on Ornithardy, a new arrangement recently found by
Brent Fischer. Bob Sheppard takes the tenor solo and very finely.
A good salute, then, from son to father, with interesting new arrangements where appropriate and founding fathers on board to reprise their original work
alongside young bloods. I appreciate why itís included but next time, and once that pesky electronica is ditched, Iíll be upping my metaphorical
recommendation stars even higher.