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Jeffrey Fisher—BIOGRAPHY

A born improviser, Jeffrey Fisher played nearly all the instruments in his school band, including trumpet and drums, but it wasn’t until the late 70’s, when working as a blues guitarist in the clubs in East Oakland, that he fell in love with the bass violin. Though Fisher’s passionate involvement with music has taken him into the realm of orchestral composition, this latest album SATYAGRAHA—Songs of the Earth, has led him back to the bass as a solo instrument.

“A foot soldier in the psychic revolution of the ‘60’s,” is how Fisher describes his start as a profes-sional musician, playing drums and guitar in rock and blues groups around the country until landing in the Bay Area. There, he started studying music in earnest and absorbing the richness of what was and still is a sophisticated and integrated music scene. His search for musical knowledge led him to a fortuitous meeting with master musician Fred Marshall, former bass player with Vince Guar-aldi, Ben Webster and others. Marshall taught Fisher the basics of theory and improvising in a jazz context, and instilled an interest in acoustic bass. Within a few years, Jeff was privileged to play with some of the Bay area’s most progressive and talented players—not only pianists, but singers, rock and folk groups—everyone needed a bass player!

This background as a versatile musician would later play into Fisher’s eclecticism and versatility as a composer, seamlessly combining popular, European and world influences to forge his unique sound. On this album, SATYAGRAHA—Songs of the Earth, that sound is dominated by the Jeffrey’s 160 year-old bass violin, which Fisher has transformed, by virtual of unusual technical prowess, imagina-tion and dedication for a number of years, into a solo instrument of unusual expressiveness and to-nal color.

The cover art, a selection of Fisher’s own widely shown and sought-after watercolors, done between his travels as a musician, resonate with the same clarity and vibrant color as the music. The paint-ings also illustrate the artist’s strong connection with nature. This connection began in Fisher’s childhood, when his family moved to a relatively isolated, rural location that included a cherry or-chard where Jeff would practice for the school band. The connection with nature strengthened in the 1990’s, when Jeffrey moved to an isolated village in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Northern New Mexico, and more recently, when he moved to his current off-the-grid retreat in California’s San Jacinto Mountains that Fisher has named Satyagraha. It means “the power of truth,” and was Gan-dhi’s name for non-violent resistance. This was where Fisher composed and recorded (with solar power) the current album.

If Fisher’s previous CD, with its musical depiction of the Bhagavad Gita, resonated with Emerson’s and Thoreau’s philosophy, SATYAGRAHA is more like (a Southwest) On Walden Pond, for its inti-mate depiction of nature. In these live acoustic recordings, related through their sound and concept, each piece stand on its own, like a collection of poetry, rather than his (novelistic) orchestral suites of OCEAN OF CONSCIOUSNESS, FAIRY TALES or TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT.

Though obviously busy maintaining this land and involved with the process of composing and pro-ducing new albums since the establishment of his recording company Healing Music of the South-west in the 1990’s, Fisher has concurrently developed his skills as an author, a promulgator of Tai Chi, and a healer. He is currently in the middle of a four-year doctor’s program in Auricular Medi-cine, which he feels complements his other work in Reiki, Acupressure, Reflexology/Acupressure and Herbology (not to mention music). His written work consists of five books of poetry and a three-volume work on the connection of philosophy, medicine and music entitled White Cloud Journey—the Tao of Just About Everything and several articles on Tai Chi and Native Herbs.  

 

 

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Jeffrey A. Fisher. Copyright 2003.
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