SJF is sad to report the death of CLARE FISCHER, who died on January 26th 2012 at the age of eighty three. Fischer was an eminent pianist and composer who initially excelled in the sphere of Latin Jazz – he worked extensively with vibraphone maestro Cal Tjader in the 1960s. But for many people, Fischer will be remembered as the man who gave Prince’s music another sonic dimension via the distinctive string arrangements he supplied for albums like ‘Parade’ in 1986.

It was Fischer’s arrangements for stellar R&B band, Rufus & Chaka Khan, in the 1970s that apparently led Prince to hire the Michigan-born classically-trained musician. Though they never actually met, they worked together on numerous projects over the years, including the albums ‘Sign O’ The Times,’ ‘Batman’ and ‘Crystal Ball.’

Other beneficiaries of Clare Fischer’s unique musical alchemy over the years have been Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, The Family, Robert Palmer, Donald Byrd, Natalie Cole, Atlantic Starr, The Jacksons, Regina Belle, Tori Amos and more recently Vanessa Williams, Raphael Saadiq and Brian McKnight.

Fischer won a Grammy award in 1981 for his album ‘Salsa Picante plus 2+2’ and then scooped another in 1986 for his record ‘Free Fall.’ Ever the workaholic, the arranger released two albums simultaneously a few months before his death – ‘Voices…And Sometimes Instruments’ and ‘Continuum,’ the latter attributed to the Clare Fischer Big Band.

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