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A moment in time,
This review is from: Thesaurus (Audio CD)
If like me your knowledge of West Coast arrangers is limited to Marty Paich and Gerald Wilson, then Fisher’s the man to make up a thoroughly worthwhile trio. He has his own thing going on all over this album from 1968, a point emphasised by the fact that he’s responsible for most of the compositions too.
His harmonic sense is reflective of no voice other than his own too, but of course the music still wouldn’t amount to much if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s played by a band of seasoned pros who always know exactly what they’re doing, a point emphasised by both Bill Perkins in his baritone sax solo on “Calamus” and Warne Marsh’s tenor sax outing on “Miles Behind” which, as was that master’s wont, is as singular as a finger print.
Fischer plays the electric as well as the acoustic piano on this set, but not to the point where –in my opinion- the reactionaries have reason to carp. Besides which, the combination of the former with Perkins’s baritone on “Twas Only Yesterday” is persuasive enough to convert the doubters, especially as the piece is arguably the best example of Fischer’s arranging skills the album has to offer.
In a review of this album by Brian Morton that I read he makes the point that Fischer himself is believed by some to be the alto sax soloist on “In Memoriam (John F. and Robert F. Kennedy) but I’m not so sure that it isn’t Gary Foster, who’s work can also be heard on Lennie Tristano’s “Lennie’s Pennies”, a piece for which at least eighty five percent of Foster’s instrumental personality is ideally suited.
Something that Fischer shares with Paich is the ability to make the resources he has actually sound smaller than they are. This isn’t meant to be detrimental –in fact it’s intended as quite the opposite because the feat lends this set no small amount of its distinction, which is abundant enough to widen its appeal beyond the big band specialists. It’s far from expensive too, so any fan of, say, Warne Marsh, of whom there’d be a whole lot more in a radically better world, can buy with confidence.