Bert Van Den Brink Invites Clare Fischer
Bert Van den Brink & Clare Fischer
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Clare Fischer has always been known for his adventurousness. In his long and estimable career as pianist, organist, arranger, composer, and conductor, he's worked with everyone from Dizzy to Prince, and here duets with Bert van den Brink, the fine Dutch pianist, organist, and composer. Recorded live and clear on their topless Fazioli grands, they're playing in a small, old Austerlitz church that was converted into a concert hall with a warm and attentive audience seated all around them. Due to a minor road mishap, there was no time for rehearsal or even a definitive set list — but with musicians of this caliber, this is more opportunity than disadvantage. The result is an extraordinary evening of musical spontaneity, fellowship, and wit, which is even more remarkable because van den Brink is totally blind, and visual cues were impossible. The CD features a variety of duo and solo tracks, from the swinging "Hoaky Blues" and "Donna Lee" through soulful meditations on "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Yesterdays," and "Memories of You," to a riotous "Chopsticks" and hip commentary on various "Pennies." There's also a splendid version of Fischer's classic "Morning," a pensive van den Brink original ("Woods), and a fascinating seat-of-pants medley that includes both Mozart and Louis Bonfa. You can hear the delight of discovery in the players' comments, the general laughter, and — above all — in the music. Highly recommended.