Grønvad/Søndergaard Quintet: Plays The Latin Vibe Of Clare Fischer

Danish vibist and altoist offer an authoritative take on the seductive rhythms and harmonies of Fischer’s bossa novas


The European musicians on this release are quite new to me but they take to the seductive rhythms and harmonies of Clare Fisher’s bossa novas as to the manner born. The decision to record this music was taken after vibraphonist Morten Grønvad had studied with Emil Richards and Clare Fischer in 1996.

He and Jens Søndergaard selected no less than five numbers for this CD (Samba Da Borboleta, Wistful Samba, Gostoso, Pensativa and Elizete) that had been introduced on two 1962 Bud Shank albums which featured Fischer, Larry Bunker and Joe Pass (Pacific Jazz TOCJ 66626CD & 66628CD).

The opening Carnaval has an unusual 35-bar stucture (AAAB) and Grønvad impresses here and elsewhere with his intimate and highly lyrical approach. Unlike many vibraphonists he’s clearly a believer in one note less rather than one note more. Jens Søndergaard on alto has a cerebral sound totally free of vibrato and reminiscent a little of Lee Konitz but without the latter’s rhythmic and harmonic flair. He does have several well-structured solos here especially on Samba Da Borboleta, a busy, chromatic-based theme which has some very nice piano from Thomas Borno.

The highlight is Fischer’s Morning, one of the composer’s most popular and loveliest themes. He introduced it on his 1966 Manteca! album (Pacific Jazz TOCJ-66626CD) and Meredith d’Ambrosio sang a rare lyric (not heard here) on her 1989 South To A Warmer Place CD (Sunnyside SSC 1039D).

Carnaval; Ontem À Noite; Samba Da Borboleeta; Wistful Samba; Morning; Gostoso; Gaviota; Pensativa; Elizete (50.23)
Jens Søndergaard (as); Morten Grønvad (vib, pc); Thomas Born (p); Niels W. Knudsen (b); Niclas Campagnol (d). Copenhagen, February & October 2020.
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