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John Fischer: Another INTERface Live at Bim

Pianist Fischer leads INTERface, here consisting of bassist Wilber Morris and alto saxman Arthur Blythe. A veteran of the ’60s and ’70s New York avant garde scene, he claims that his music is now mellower, due to the influence of Ravel, Satie, Poulenc, Debussey and Copeland. Actually, Fischer’s work will still seem pretty dissonant and percussive to listeners, expressionistic rather than impressionistic. There are tunes here by Monk, Ellington, Fats Waller and Gershwin; the rest were written by Fischer.

The pianist plays with plenty of intensity and drive but at times his work is bombastic. His melodramatically romantic performance seems to be almost a self-parody on “Toll’s Fantasy,” and his heavy-handed treatment of “Don’t Get Around Much Any More” sounds like something you’d hear a semiclassical pianist play at a pops concert.

Working with the aggressively intrusive Fischer can create problems, but Blythe hangs in. He sounds good during “Jitterbug Waltz,” during which Fischer lays out. There are times, though, when the two click, as on “Amsterdam Polka,” where Fischer’s aggressive accompaniment seems to stimulate Blythe.

Originally Published