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Herbie Hancock Remembers Clare Fischer

Oct. 22, 1928-Jan. 26, 2012

Herbie Hancock
Clare Fischer, photo courtesy of the artist

When I was first learning jazz as a teenager, one of the things that I discovered I liked was the harmony, and particularly the jazz harmony in vocal groups. When I heard the Hi-Lo’s, it flipped me out. And there were certain arrangements on those records that I liked the most. I didn’t know at the time who’d written them, but when I did find out, the name was Clare Fischer.

I studied, on my own, the harmonies from his arrangements. They were more advanced than what anybody else was doing, and that kept up all the way until Clare died. I heard some of his last records, and he was still doing amazing harmonic stuff. And, of course, he was a wonderful pianist, too. But it was those vocal harmonies that were the first thing I heard. I was in awe of him.

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