Vocalist Roseanna Vitro Set to Release 'Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer'

Vocalist Roseanna Vitro Set to Release 'Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer'

The richly harmonic, deeply melodic music of pianist and composer/arranger Clare Fischer (1928-2012) has proven to be fertile terrain for many jazz and pop artists over the last half-century. Vocalist Roseanna Vitro puts her passionate stamp on nine of Fischer's compositions (and a favorite of his by Ary Barroso) on her gorgeous new CD "Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer," which will be released September 30 by Random Act Records. As on her 2011 Grammy-nominated disc, "The Music of Randy Newman," "Clarity" finds Vitro focusing her talents on a pioneering composer of renown.

With their intricate structures and overlapping debts to jazz, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music, and classical forms, Fischer's songs are not always easy to sing. "I really didn't realize what I was getting myself into with this project of difficult melodies," says Vitro. "But once I was in, well, I was in." It took almost two years to cultivate lyrics for six Fischer compositions "that have never been sung before. This is the first vocal book by a solo singer of his music."

On this heartfelt project, Vitro pays tribute to a real musician's musician whose fascination with bossa nova and jazz samba is brought to vivid life by her longtime working band (and Randy Newman collaborators): pianist/arranger Mark Soskin, the savvy Sonny Rollins veteran and one of jazz's most in-demand players; brilliant young violinist Sara Caswell, a member of groups led by Esperanza Spalding and Marc O'Connor; bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Tim Horner, rhythm-mates to Vitro and a host of other top vocalists. The prolific percussionist Mino Cinelu (Weather Report) also contributed; vibist Brent Fischer, for whom his father composed "Sleep Sweet Child" (presented here as "Sleep My Child"), guests on one track.

Clare Fischer's distinguished career began with his work as arranger for the Hi-Lo's in the late 1950s and included 11 Grammy nominations along with high-profile arranging work for Prince, Chaka Khan, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, and other pop stars. His lifelong involvement with Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean music first came to light on 1962's "Bossa Nova Jazz Samba" (with Bud Shank) and continued with 1964's "Só Danço Samba" and 1981's Grammy-winning "Clare Fischer and Salsa Picante Present 2+2."

The program on "Clarity" features several of Fischer's more widely covered compositions, such as "Morning," "Seagull" (Gaviota), and "Pensativa," as well as lesser known gems: "Take Your Breath and Sing" (O Canto), originally recorded in Portuguese with a vocal group, and boasting new English lyrics by Roseanna's husband (and CD producer/engineer) Paul Wickliffe; "Love's Path" (Love's Walk), written for Fischer's wife Donna, with new lyrics by Wickliffe; and "Swingin' with the Duke" (The Duke), whose lyrics were co-written by Vitro and Cheryl Pyle. The non-Fischer number, "Web of Love" (Inquietação), is by Brazilian master Ary Barroso and dates from 1935; new English lyrics are by Roger Schore.