Fischer….In New York City
Records ARCD 19444
Fischer (acoustic guitar) Chuck Redd (vibes) John Webber (bass)
Matt Wilson (drums)
Recorded June 11 &
12, 2014 at Avatar Studios in New York City
About You/Love For Sale/Crazy He Calls Me/Swing 42/A Nightingale Sang
In Berkeley Square/Puttin’ On The Ritz/Tenderly/Laverne Walk/Day
Dream/Napolitana/Avalon/Everytime We Say Goodbye
that Arbors Jazz has reactivated itself in the past year or so under
the auspices of Rachel Domber it was deemed time for another album
from Danish guitarist Jacob Fischer. And hurray for that!
Fischer’s first album was reviewed in these pages (see IAJRC
Journal March 2013) and another unique CD is in our hands for
time recording in New York City (thus your title) the personnel was
chosen carefully and the mix is singular. Chuck Redd generally
rotates from drums and vibes when performing but sticks to the vibes
on this date. Drummer Matt Wilson is likely the most in demand
drummer on the New York jazz scene today and plays as lyrically as
any in any genre.
John Webber is on bass and grounded in classic bebop.
Fischer brings his Django tinged guitar into the mix through an
imaginative selection of melodies.
CD opens with a Matt Wilson drum introduction lightly swinging a
hello on ‘How About You.’ ‘Love For Sale’ is cast in a
bluesy cloud via an intro out of left field that returns throughout
the arrangement. Fischer plays so delicately on ‘Crazy He Calls
Me’ that it can very easily be called chamber jazz.
legendary sound engineer Jim Czak for capturing the gentle touch and
projecting it so effectively.
“Swing 42’ sounds like a
combination of Django jazz and George Shearing (and dig that splash
cymbal behind Redd’s vibes solo!). Wilson plays so lightly and yet
so dynamically at the same time! The voicings that Fisher and Redd
manage are seamless and at times sound like one instrument. Webber’s
bass is felt as much as heard. ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley
Square’ unfolds as a waltz, perhaps a first for this chestnut.
‘Puttin’ On The Ritz’ may be the standard on this album that is
reimagined more than any other. The verse will at the minimum
surprise you as the Irving Berlin classic is given a rare jazz
exploration. Will Friedwald’s liner notes suggest that instead of
‘Tenderly’ this one should be titled ‘Bouncingly.’
Walk,’ composed by Oscar Pettiford is a feature for bassist Webber
and he grabs the spotlight. ‘Day Dream’ is guitar and bass
playing the melody straight almost all the way, respecting Billy
Strayhorn’s tune as most jazzmen do.
‘Napolitana’ is the one
Jacob Fisher original on the album and as you will hear it fits in
without a hitch.
‘Avalon’ is recast almost unrecognizably after
a brief introduction and they are off to swinging solos that only
peripherally reference the old melody line. Straightforward
‘Everytime We Say Goodbye’ is the beautiful conclusion to an
album of ranging taste and expression. Don’t miss Fischer’s
clever injection of the closing strain from Gordon Jenkins’
single standard on this album is played with a refreshing wonder.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, too often new jazz albums fall
short in firing our jaded interests. It is very tough for a jazz
musician today to find originality as he or she is up against
EVERYTHING that has gone on before them. An unforgiving task to be
sure. Jacob Fischer has found the way to spur my interest as this
album grows and grows with each successive listen. No Django clone
in any way shape or form. This gentleman is on his way with this
Arbors Jazz album number two. Don’t miss it and here’s to many