“Carl is a gifted musician and someone I have had the pleasure of performing with over the past eight years. With the release of Adverse Times, Carl firms his place in a lineage of truly great trumpet players.
From pop to hard-driving funk, from world flavors to inspired renditions of some of my own compositions, the album will appeal to a wide range of listeners and definitely should not be missed.”
~ Billy Joel -2010
“Carl is one of the best jazz trumpeters today”-the late great trumpet artist-
~ Maynard Ferguson
“Adverse Times” One of the most creative and groove based recodings of 2010. Jazztimes Magazine-…… Bobby Vega.
Fischer’s trumpet and flugelhorn sound is as inviting as warm butter.
Allaboutjazz.com-…………Nicholas F. Mondello.
Jazz Great Carl Fischer “Double Smash Celebration” With 10-Year Anniversary Performances of “Organic Groove Ensemble” Along With His Stellar “Nouveau” Big Band
November 12, 2011 Locust Valley, NY – World-renowned jazz trumpeter, Carl Fischer brings a “double smash” celebration to Astoria’s magnificent Astor Room on December 1 with a special 10-year anniversary performance of his dynamic “Organic Groove Ensemble” and his spectacular, high-energy output, 9-piece “Nouveau” Big Band with two sets from 830-1130 PM (No cover charge and free parking). The performance of these two outstanding jazz groups is expected to be the jazz highlight of the season.
“I am extremely proud of this milestone for “Organic Groove.” “It’s been a labor of love,” said Fischer, who has played with Maynard Ferguson, Billy Joel, Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Blood, Sweat and Tears, among many others.
“Being able to highlight a decade of great performances and recordings and have that celebration as a live performance along with the “Nouveau” Big Band’s gig at the fabulous Astor Room is very exciting,” he added.
“Organic Groove Ensemble,” an organ/rhythm section small group under Fischer’s trumpeting and compositional leadership, has received worldwide acclaim and chart-topping status for its recordings since its founding by Fischer in 2001. The group, whose latest acclaimed CD, “Adverse Times,” charted at #4 on the National Music Choice® Jazz Charts, features an eclectic repertoire of selections from Miles Davis and Billy Joel to its leader’s original compositions.
The “Nouveau” Big Band, a larger 9-piece ensemble, features some of New York’s finest “first call” jazz musicians and performs high-power, screaming brass-featured selections reminiscent of the work of Maynard Ferguson, Jaco Pastorious and others. Its prior performances at the Astor Room have gotten high praise – and press – and have been a “feast” for lovers of high-energy jazz.
“We’ve been quite pleased with the terrific reception my “Nouveau” band has received in other New York gigs,” stated Fischer who has starred with jazz and pop music’s greatest. “This is not a “ghost” or tribute band. We’re moving in our own direction with some of the best and brightest players on the jazz scene today,” he added. “And, the intimacy of The Astor Room, will allow listeners the opportunity to experience a spectacular duo of performances on December 1.”
Carl Fischer (www.fischmusic.com) is one of the world’s most in-demand trumpeters. He has demonstrated and earned that stature through his work with Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Orchestra, with Blood, Sweat and Tears, Maynard Ferguson’s and Billy Joel’s bands, recent tours with Diana Ross and his own “Organic Groove Ensemble” and others. He is a Yamaha Trumpets artist/clinician, a GR Mouthpiece Technologies artist, and endorses Torpedo Bags and AMT Microphones. “Adverse Times,” which reached #4 on Music Choice Jazz List, is his most recent CD recording.
The Astor Room (www.astorroom.com) is located at 34-12 36th St. (near the corner of 35th Ave, under the Kaufman Studios) in Astoria, NY. For reservations and other information, please call (718-255-1947) or visit their website
From “Hill Rag” Washington D.C.
Jean Keith Fagon.
Adverse Times •••
Carl Fischer & Organic Groove Ensemble,
As a talented trumpeter, Carl Fischer’s latest album has some outstanding performances on “Adverse Times,” “Downeaster Alexa” and “Tutu” (by Miles Davis). Another plus point is the combination of the soulful, bluesy vocals and instruments that achieve a better musical balance, starting with the most brilliant piece “Movin’ Out and On,” and increasing in weight to the resounding “Freeport
to Fire Island.”
From Jazztimes Magazine 04/23/10 • Albums • By Bobby Vega
Carl Fischer & The Organic Groove Ensemble – Adverse Times
Creativity, musicianship, & pure feel are the first thoughts that come to mind when describing the new release from trumpeter/composer Carl Fischer & The Organic Groove Ensemble titled “Adverse Times.” Fischer who is a Long Island native has spent much of his musical journey on several fronts. He has performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau Band, & most recently rock legend Billy Joel. Fischer gets around and there is a reason why. He can flat out play!
When organizing a recording many independent musicians miss the mark. Let me assure you “Adverse Times” does not miss the mark. The opening track “Wienheim Blues” is a groove fiesta, which grabs you right into this twelve-track date. Aside from the soaring playing of Fischer, the track also highlights guitarist Jay Azzolina who solos up one side of the composition and down the other.
The title track “Adverse Times” enters with a one-minute intro that leads into the body of work. The piece has a ghostly vocal section (performed by saxophonist John Scarpulla)- this falls behind the groove and lets just say needs to be heard. It is musical creativity that makes you think. Something we could use more of. What I love most about Fischer’s approach is he doesn’t conform, and he delivers one knock out musical punch after the other.
Personally I can run to the hills when I hear vocals in the jazz vain! Not here. Fischer has Brent Carter (Tower of Power fame) leading vocals on “Movin Out and On.” Another fantastic cut that Fischer & Azzolina eat up. Their trading of licks is like two champions in the ring. Next up is “Kirican Afternoon/Sonho Medley.” Fischer takes another turn here and gets Latin on us. Joined by percussionist Emiliano Valerio, again the musicianship doesn’t disappoint. There is strong rhythmic foundation and brilliant performance throughout.
Upon receiving Adverse Times I was informed that Carl was on the road with Billy Joel & Elton John so it was to no surprise that Fischer delivers a cover of the Joel classic “Downeaster Alexa.” A stunning tribute to the piano man which again shows why Fischer runs with the best of them. His tone and approach; along with his arrangements are all capturing to the listener. Following the Joel classic he comes right at you with “Open Up.” Grove, Grove and more Grove! This all laid down by organist Ron Oswanski. Hammond in your face and it just takes off from note one.
Up next is one of my personal favorites of all time – The Marcus Miller composition titled “Tutu” written for the Miles Davis recording of the same title. This is an admirable rendition with some incredible playing by saxophonist John Scarpulla. This is followed up by “Freeport to Fire Island” which includes another fantastic vocal performance by the great Brent Carter. The final two tracks are “Flo n Mayn Spirit” which is kind of a let loose “improv with structure” type of piece. Everyone gets their turn and again it is just top-notch musicianship throughout.
The closing track is another Billy Joel composition titled “Elegy for the Fisherman.” If you have not had the chance to check out Carl Fischer get over to Itunes and throw your hard earned towards one of the most creative and groove based recordings of 2010
“Solid and full of spirit, this record is an antidote to adverse times – and just try to get this catchy version of “Downeaster Alexa” out of your head – I haven’t been able to yet. ”
Brad Walseth JazzChicago.net
“Tasty, hot set that is loaded with great twists, turns and playing that just doesn’t quit. Open your ears in this direction if you need some hot stuff to fill them.”
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher midwestrecord.com
“If strength is what’s needed in adversity, this New York trumpeter is well set up to turn Adverse Times around. With his Organic Groove Ensemble, the former Maynard Ferguson Band star brings together the kind of jazz chops, excitement and musicality that go way back,with a strong and accessible good-time funk feel.”
The Jazz Breakffast
Highlights from night one: Carl Fischer’s flugelhorn solo on “Zanzibar,” and not having to hear “Walk This Way” (Steven Tyler was a special guest Friday, along with Garth Brooks and Roger Daltrey). Stereo gum 2008 shea stadium NY show review.
Joel included the jazz-flecked, Steely Dan-ish “Zanzibar” (with some sparkling trumpet playing by Carl Fischer), times union.com 2007.
A tremendous seven-person band backed Joel and each was provided significant opportunity to shine. Some of those moments included Carl Fischer’s trumpet-playing on the jazzy “Zanzibar,” The pendulum 2007.
Five numbers into the set was, “Zanzibar,” Which really kicked the show into high gear. We might well have been sitting in New Morning(Paris) or the Blue Note(New York City). This was first rate Jazz. Particularly outstanding on this song were the solos performed by Carl Fischer, first on fluegal horn, then on trumpet. the weekly recorder 2008.
Carl Fischer and Organic Groove Ensemble
Westbury, New York
July 30, 2008
The jazz spirits that haunt this historic venue were probably smiling, swinging and reaching for a cool one last night as phenom jazz trumpeter Carl Fischer and his terrific group, Organic Groove Ensemble generated a veritable jazz-funk firestorm. Tudor architecture inspired, the club, now a dinner and entertainment restaurant, was once the “Cork ‘n’ Bib” nite spot, which featured extended stay jazz acts such as Maynard Ferguson’s big band, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Horace Silver, among many others. Fischer and his mates did everything but bring those spirits back to life as they blistered through an array of jazz-funk tunes that provided these terrific musicians the opportunity to let fly with high energy, creative fire and improvisational flair.
Organic Groove Ensemble, a “nom de swing” play on keyboardist Ron Oswanski’s thundering B3 organ, showcases the talents of musicians who also perform individually with other acts. Beside Ferguson alum Fischer, now a stalwart in the Billy Joel Band, drummer Brian Wolfe and Oswanski have played as standouts with Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Aretha Franklin and others. Brilliant and versatile saxophonist John Scarpulla has been featured with Billy Joel, Tower of Power, Céline Dion and Latin stars Celia Cruz and Willie Colon. Versatile Guitarist Steve Briody has performed with everyone from Randy Brecker to the Funk Filharmonic. All bring their vast experiences here into a gumbo of drive, inspiration and creative fire.
The group opened with a rendition of Jimmy Heath’s “Gingerbread Boy” with Wolfe swinging and as funk-driven as any drummer on the planet. The “B” in Oswanski’s B3 playing must stand for “balls” as he just comped and drove the front men through melody and their solos. Fischer, a powerhouse Baby Bull who can scream with the best of them, never for a moment wallowed in pyrotechnics for their own sake in his terrific solos. His is a trumpet sound that is melt-gorgeous and his mature approach to the instrument will grab you on every improvisational ride up to the top of the horn’s Everest.
Moving into a more jazz-blues-gospel format, Fischer’s original composition, “Hangin’ With Nat,” (in reference to a personal mentor of Fischer’s, the late jazzman Nat Adderley) would make Cannonball and Nat want to sit in. Scarpulla and Fischer wailed through the head which was respectfully reminiscent of the Adderleys’ “Dis Here” “Dat Dere” days and took off from there. Briody’s terrific solos here and elsewhere on the date were a treat, with fingers flying and ideas whirling. Oswanki was a whirl of hands all night as he pulsed and laid the harmonic foundation just so – funky and swinging.
Billy Joel’s “Downeaster Alexa” and Jeff Barone’s hip “Crazy Talk,” which showed Fischer’s funky plunger prowess, were vehicles for each “Groover” to shine. “Nadja” had Fischer’s luscious flugelhorn doubling Scarpulla. Inspired, yet tasteful improvisations followed.
The group’s first set ended with Miles Davis’ composition, “Tutu.” Interestingly, on this tune Fischer employed the use of a multiphonics hook-up reminiscent of that of the late Don Ellis (who also performed here decades ago). No gimmickry here, Fischer laid down layer upon layer of high-speed runs and riffs, one more exciting than the prior. Not to be undone, Scarpulla blasted off in what was his most exciting and inventive solo of the night, exploring the entire range and breadth of the sax. At times it was Brecker-esque; other times it was all Scarpulla. Marvelous.
Carl Fischer and Organic Groove Ensemble will excite you, move you and leave you breathless as they individually and collectively explore new jazz-funk improvisational vistas. The spirit, rapport and drive are fresh and very high-octane. The musicianship First Class. A bravura, cooking performance. I’m certain that the “band upstairs” thinks so also.
Was that Miles really smiling?
By Nicholas F. Mondello
After Billy Joel’s sound check, Joel asks Carl Fischer, his trumpet player, to get online and learn, as quickly as he can, composer Dimitri Tiomkin’s immortal main theme from the movie. Joel figures the San Antonio audience will get a kick out of it.
American Way magazine july 1 2009.
Carl Fischer & Organic Groove Ensemble | FischMusic (2004)
By Jack Bowers
Every musician—especially one who leads—has a game plan, and we can’t simply dismiss it out of hand. We must listen and assess the plan on its merits. Trumpeter Carl Fischer, a mainstay in Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau ensemble, has spent several years putting together a group of his own, the latest version of which is represented on this album, which began life as a four-tune demo recording to scare up gigs before expanding into a well-rounded snapshot of the five-member Organic Groove Ensemble’s prowess. “The meaning of ‘organic’ in the band’s name comes from the prominence of the Hammond B3 organ [expertly played by Ferguson bandmate Ron Oswanski] in the music,” Fischer writes, “and ‘groove’ stands for some funky rhythms that [lie] in the pocket.”
And what Fischer asserts is for the most part what transpires—a funky, free-wheeling session of original compositions by Fischer, Jeff Barone, Jimmy Heath and G. Whitty that swings nicely along in its groovy way and encompsses respectable solos by Fischer, Oswanski and the others (tenor saxophonist John Scarpulla, guitarist Tom Guarna, drummer Brian Wolfe). Fischer is an accomplished trumpeter with a crystalline tone who reaches on occasion for the stratosphere once ruled by his irrepressible employer, Mr. Ferguson. Unlike Maynard, he doesn’t overshadow his teammates but gives them ample room to have their say. Oswanski, a superb accompanist and able improviser, is quick to take advantage, as are Guarna and Scarpulla.
The groove, as noted, is basically funky, and Wolfe does an excellent job in keeping it there, as do Oswanski and Guarna, while Fischer glides easily above their rhythmic patterns, whether on trumpet or flugelhorn, which he uses on “Don’t Play Games” and “No Laughing Matter.” The brief finale, “Outtakes,” shows how the group bravely “faces the music” before putting anything on tape (hence the subtitle, “Soap Opera/Three Clams in Two Bars”).
If funk is your bag, you’ll no doubt warm quickly to the Organic Groove Ensemble. Even though it’s not this reviewer’s music of choice, I must concede that Fischer’s group is wholly committed to making it sound as handsome and pleasing as possible, and that’s the sort of game plan anyone should applaud.
All About Jazz 2004.
Friday, August 8, 2008.
Rockin’ with the Piano Man -about Carl Fischer.
As Carl Fischer’s jazz band performs a 10-minute version of Billy Joel’s “The Downeaster Alexa,” Fischer plays trumpet solos, gives the band cues, checks the sound system and jokes with the crowd, seemingly all at the same time.
Despite the fact that this is the band’s first attempt at the song, Fischer manages to lead them through it – after all, his other gig is touring with the piano man himself. Fischer, a Baldwin resident, has been playing with Joel for three years, most recently at the last two concerts ever at Shea Stadium. “It was amazing,” Fischer said of the shows at Shea. “We once played a show at the Colosseum in Rome. The streets were packed with people, and that was amazing-looking. I didn’t think anything was gonna beat that. But when we came back to New York, playing the last shows at Shea and having the other artists” – which included Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney – “come out was a life-changing experience. I don’t know how it’s going to be topped.”
Fischer got his big break in December of 2005, while playing in the band for the Broadway musical “Movin’ Out,” which features Joel’s music. Tommy Byrnes, a resident of Oceanside, was the show’s music director and was touring with Joel. Byrnes, who is now Joel’s music director, recalled that Joel needed someone to play the trumpet on his song “Zanzibar,” and Byrnes asked Fischer if he was up to the challenge. On Dec. 13, Fischer’s birthday, he auditioned for Joel and the rest of the band. Fischer remembers Joel getting up from the piano and walking away, saying, “Wow, we sound like grownups.” Fischer was nervous at first, thinking he wouldn’t get the job. But as he later learned, Joel attributed “sounding like grownups” to jazz, or “growing-up” music. Fischer got the job. Originally, Joel planned to use Fischer only for shows at Madison Square Garden, but after the success of “Zanzibar,” Fischer was repeatedly invited back. According to Fischer, the band now plays “Zanzibar” every night, and he is a permanent part of the band, playing trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and tenor saxophone.
In 2006 Joel released a double album, “12 Gardens Live,” featuring 12 of his shows recorded at the Garden. The album features Fischer’s “Zanzibar” solo. ”I’ve been very fortunate to be with him,” Fischer said of Joel. “It’s a great honor for me to have that gig. It’s the best of the best.”
Fischer first picked up the trumpet at age 5, inspired by his father and grandfather, who were talented trumpet players themselves. He began his music career in the Funk Philharmonic and toured with the renowned jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. Listening to Ferguson play and learning his unique style, Fischer found a mentor. Ferguson eventually asked Fischer to open shows for him, the first time in Ferguson’s 40 years of touring that he had a trumpet player open for him. Fischer said that the Billy Joel band is a very close group, because most are local guys who enjoy fishing and the Long Island lifestyle, as well as playing music that reaches all generations of fans. He added that Joel keeps good people close to him, and that everyone who works on the show, from the headliner himself to the last roadie, is a “class act.” ”We’re Long Island guys and we have the same passions,” said Fischer. “I think I’ve talked music with Billy maybe twice.”
When not touring with Joel, Fischer substitutes for Broadway musicians and works with a jazz band of his own, Carl Fischer & Organic Groove Ensemble. The band released an eponymous first album in 2003, and is currently working on a new album. Fischer and the band played two sets, including Joel’s “The Downeaster Alexa” and Miles Davis’s “Tutu,” for a small audience at a Westbury eatery on July 30. Most of the songs were Fischer’s own compositions. The five-member band grooved together nicely, sharing the spotlight during solos, and kept the atmosphere light, joking with the crowd and one another throughout the performance.
The band is a member of Artist Share, a unique online organization that seeks to circumvent the issue of illegal file-sharing that cuts into artists’ profits. The organization allows fans to have access to the recording process, including the ability to download MP3 files, VIP access to recording sessions and even credit listing on an album in exchange for fan funding of the artist. “This is a really new business model,” said Fischer. “[The fans] will really have a say in the recording process.” Fischer went to both elementary and middle school in Baldwin before moving to Florida for four years with his parents, where he attended a performing arts high school. Afterward he returned to Baldwin, and has been on the road, touring the world with one band or another, ever since.
He recently bought a house in Freeport, where he hopes to do a lot of fishing and boating. With Carl Fischer & Organic Groove Ensemble, Fischer says he is not looking for fame and fortune. He is happy just being able to play jazz and have people come out and enjoy it. “We just want to play some music and have a good time,” said Fischer, adding that he feels blessed to have made a living making music. “I don’t go to work, I go to play.”