In 1996 the Danish vibraphonist/composer Morten Grønvad spent six months in Los Angeles CA, seeking inspiration a. o. studying with percussionists Emil Richards and Alex Acuña. By coincidence he met and became friends with the great jazz pianist Clare Fischer – a very influential musician, who both Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock have stated as one of their major musical inspirations. During this and subsequent stays in LA Morten frequently visited Clare in his home in Studio City, where they discussed musical ideas and listened to each other’s work.
After Clare passed away in 2012, Morten stayed in contact with Clare’s son Brent Fischer (winner of multiple Latin Jazz Grammys), who visited Copenhagen some years later. On that occasion Morten and Brent had decided to join forces, and they played a couple of concerts together at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival highlighting Clare’s music. Morten Grønvad’s interest for Clare Fischer’s music has persisted, and in 2019 he and the very expressive alto saxophonist, Jens Søndergaard, got the idea of recording an album based on Clare Fischer’s compositions with their group Grønvad/Søndergaard Quintet. Lead by Morten Grønvad and Jens Søndergaard’s beautiful and melodic sound, the quintet has created this worthy and wholeheartedly homage to Clare Fischer and his music, underlining the importance of his musical creativity. The delicately accompanying rhythm section consists of pianist Thomas Bornø, bassist Niels Wilhelm Knudsen and drummer Niclas Campagnol.
Morning is Clare Fischer’s best known Latin jazz standard, having been covered by dozens of great artists over the decades. Grønvad and his all stars now join this growing club, comfortably sitting among the best interpreters of this classic song. From this Afro-Cuban groove, we land back in Brazil for Gostoso (Tasty), where the title applies to the delicious melody, flavorful voicings and piquant interactions between our aural craftsmen. Gaviota is another widely covered Fischer Latin standard (it even became one of Poncho Sanchez’s album titles) in the Afro-Cuban vein. While the groove has been said to be one of the catchiest things about that song, the next Fischer Latin standard, Pensativa (Pensive Woman), is a favorite among composers because of its amazing construction.
The interplay between Morten, Jens, Thomas, Niels and Niclas on all of these songs is sublime; they are at home with each other’s approaches and work off one another with ease, passion and singular purpose. Morten continues to create a unique and fresh new aesthetic for the vibraphone and this album shows he’s a mature player in the continuing explosion of Latin music onto the world scene.