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Noted Composer and saxophonist add sizzle to Jazz Week 2003 at ASU March 31-April 3

March 18, 2003

WHAT: Jazz Week 2003 is the annual multi-day event presented by the Jazz Studies Program in the ASU Herberger College of Fine Arts School of Music that includes guest jazz artists, concerts and master classes

WHEN: March 31 through April 3
 March 31, 7:30 p.m., Jazzbones and Latin Jazz Ensemble
April 1, 7:30 p.m., Composer Clare Fischer and saxophonist Gary Foster
April 2, 7:30 p.m. New Music Jazz Ensemble
April 3, 7:30 p.m., Concert Jazz Band with saxophonist Gary Foster, keyboardist Chuck
Marohnic and tuba player Sam Pilafian

WHERE: Evelyn Smith Music Theatre, Music Building, 40 E. Gammage Parkway, Tempe

HOW MUCH: Free, no tickets required

INFORMATION: 480-965-5348

Two of jazz’s most respected, versatile and prolific artists – composer Clare Fischer and saxophonist Gary Foster – headline the 2003 Jazz Week at ASU from March 31 through April 3. All concerts are free and open to the public. They begin each evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Building’s Evelyn Smith Music Theatre on the main ASU campus in Tempe. No tickets are required; doors open at 7 p.m.

The March 31 concert features two of Jazz Studies’ student ensembles, Jazzbones and the Latin Jazz Ensemble. Fischer and Foster will perform together on April 1. The School of Music’s New Music Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of jazz faculty associate Mike Crotty, will perform with Foster April 2. The festivities end on April 3 with Crotty directing the school’s Concert Jazz Band, joined on stage by Foster, tuba player Sam Pilafian and jazz pianist Chuck Marohnic. Clinics, master classes and workshops will be held Monday through Thursday. Call the Jazz Studies office for more information, 480-965-5348.

Jazz Week, has been held every spring for more than 20 years. It is sponsored by the Herberger College School of Music’s Jazz Studies Program. The annual, multi-day event is coordinated by Professor of Music Chuck Marohnic, who is director of the program. “Jazzweek is a chance for the School of Music and the Jazz Studies Program to focus on jazz, America's true art form, by offering a week of free nightly concerts to the student body and community at large,” says Marohnic. “We do our best to bring in some of the biggest and brightest stars in the world to interact with our music students through performances with their ensembles, daily master classes, clinics and workshops.

“The benefit to the students is incalculable,” notes Marohnic. “Students get a chance to ‘hang out’ and experience these wonderful artists on a personal level. They see them as people and also as fellow musicians, not unapproachable ‘stars’. The impressions left on the students are deep and they are often left with life long memories. The benefits to the Phoenix community are tremendous. People get to hear musicians that they might never get to hear. This is attributed to the simple fact that we concentrate on the artist and their work, not their commercial appeal.”

Clare Fischer, a native of Durand, Michigan, is heralded as “an uncommonly versatile musician, a master with many muses.” Trained in the classics, inspired by jazz artists, healed by the rhythms of Latin and Brazilian music, his eclectic sound finds expression in every chart and instrument he touches. A veteran studio musician and a composer of rare quality, Fischer began his studies in high school. After receiving his master's degree in composition from Michigan State University, he traveled extensively with "The Hi-Lo's" as pianist-conductor for five years. About the same time, his musical ascension began with his critically acclaimed arrangements for Dizzy Gillespie's "A Portrait of Duke Ellington." Fischer's influences, absorbed along the way, are as distinct as his music: Stravinsky and Shostakovich, Bartok and Berg, Dutilleux, boogie-woogie pianist Meade Lux Lewis, Nat "King" Cole, Duke Ellington, Bud Powell and early Lee Konitz - Fischer's self-expression knows no boundaries. "I relate to everything," he explains. "I'm not just jazz, Latin, or classical. I really am a fusion of all of those, not today's fusion, but my fusion."

In 1983, classical concert artist Richard Stoltzman commissioned Fischer to write a symphonic work using Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn themes. The resulting composition, "The Duke, Swee'pea and Me," features Stoltzman on clarinet, and is performed with symphony orchestras around the world. More recently Fischer was commissioned by Stoltzman to write a "Sonatine for Clarinet and Piano" in three movements, which he has recorded with RCA on his album, American Clarinet, and is being published by Advance Music in Germany. In 1986, Fischer won his second Grammy Award – this one for his album, Free Fall, the first having been won in 1981 for his album, Salsa Picante plus 2 + 2. Since that time he has spent more time as a jazz educator, performing solo piano concerts and conducting clinics and master classes in universities and music conservatories in Scandinavia, Europe and throughout the U.S. In the last few years, Fischer has appeared in Paris, Finland, Norway and Germany with the WDR Big Band, in Holland with the Metropole Orchestra, in Austria at the Vienna Konzerthaus and in Mexico City at the Ollin Yolítzli Concert Hall in a concert commemorating the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim on the anniversary of his death in December 1996. In October 1998, Fischer performed at the Choro Festival with Hélio Delmiro in Sáo Paulo, Brazil and returned in July 2000 for a three-city tour in that country with Delmiro. In May 2001, Fischer completed a European tour teaching master classes and performing solo piano concerts in four countries.
In addition to Dizzie Gillespie, Fischer has written for Cal Tjader, George Shearing, Diane Schuur, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan and Rufus, The Jacksons, Earl Klugh, Prince, Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Spike Lee, João Gilberto, Paula Abdul, and most recently Brian McKnight, Regina Belle, J. Spencer, Norman Whitfield, Branford Marsalis, Tori Amos, Terry Trotter, the French group - "Charts," a Japanese group - "Sing Like Talking," Vanessa Williams, Brandy, Tony! Toni! Toné! and many others. Since beginning his professional career, Fischer has recorded more 45 albums as leader and has arranged, composed and/or played on another 100 plus albums for other recording artists. His discography reads like a "Who's Who" of the recording industry. Recent releases include Clare Fischer's Jazz Corps, a big band album made up of 20 brass and six woodwinds, plus rhythm; and Symbiosis, recorded with Hélio Delmiro on unamplified Brazilian guitar and Fischer on digital piano. In January 2001, he produced his first classical CD, After the Rain, made up entirely of his own symphonic works. In December 1999, the Michigan State University School of Music conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree on Fischer in recognition of his "creativity and excellence as a jazz composer, arranger and performer."

Gary Foster is a graduate of Kansas University. He lives in Los Angeles where he is a freelance musician performing on clarinet, saxophone and flute. He has performed and recorded with jazz groups led by Clare Fischer, Warne Marsh, Cal Tjader, Shelly Manne, Moacir Santos and Poncho Sanchez. He can be heard on Toni Tennille's More Than You Know and All of Me, the Broadway Albums of Barbara Streisand, Mel Torme's Reunionand Live In Tokyo, and on Natalie Cole's Unforgettable and Take a Look. Other recent recordings are with Michael Feinstein, Rosemary Clooney, Diane Schuur, Melissa Manchester, Joao Gilberto, Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow, Michael Legrand, Milt Jackson, Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick and Manhattan Transfer. Solo jazz recordings include Kansas City ConnectionsSubconsciously and Grand Cru Clasé (Revelation), Imagination andBeautiful Friendship (RCA Japan), Warne Marsh Meets Gary Foster (Toshiba EMI) and Starbright-Duo and Whose Woods Are These? with Clare Fischer (Discovery). Most recent solo albums are Make Your Own Fun and Live at Maybeck Hall - Duo with Alan Broadbent on Concord Jazz. White Heat and One From the Heart are with the Jazz at the Movies Band on Discovery.

He has received the Most Valuable Player award for woodwind doubling from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Since 1984 he has been the Rose Ann Millsap visiting professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Foster was a member of the television orchestras forMatlock, Diagnosis Murder, Love and War, Murder She Wrote, Perry Mason and The Simpsons. Motion picture soundtracks on which he played include: The Nutty Professor, Multiplicity, Matilda, Space Jam, First Wives Club, Mars Attack, The Mirror Has Two Faces, One Fine Day, My Fellow Americans, Jingle All the Way, A Smile Like Yours and Cats Don't Dance. Foster plays the YSS-62 soprano saxophone and the YAS-875 alto saxophone, and is a Yamaha performing artist and clinician.

Media Contact:
Mary Brennan