Grammy-winning composer Clare Fischer dead at 83

By Shaya Tayefe Mohajer

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 28 2012 3:15 a.m. MST

LOS ANGELES — Clare Fischer, a Grammy-winning composer who wrote scores for television and movies and worked with legendary musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, has died. He was 83.

Fischer died Thursday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank after suffering a heart attack two weeks ago, family spokeswoman Claris Sayadian-Dodge said.

An uncommonly versatile musician, Fischer worked as a composer, arranger, conductor and pianist for more than 60 years.

He is best known for his arrangements for Prince, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Branford Marsalis, Raphael Saadiq, Usher and Brandy.

Nominated for a Grammy 11 times in the Best Instrumental Arrangement category, Fischer won in 1986 for his album "Free Fall" and in 1981 for "Salsa Picante plus 2+2."

Born in Durand, Mich., Fischer got his start playing piano and writing jazz-inspired arrangements for the group The Hi-Lo's, an a capella quartet popular in the 1950s.

He worked as the arranger on Gillespie's "Jazz Portrait of Duke Ellington."

Fischer recorded 51 albums over his lifetime with his son Brent Fischer. The music ranges in style from jazz to salsa to symphonies.

"Clare Fischer was a major influence on my harmonic concept," Herbie Hancock is quoted as saying on Fischer's website.

"(Fischer) and Bill Evans, and Ravel and Gil Evans, finally. You know, that's where it really came from. Almost all of the harmony that I play can be traced to one of those four people and whoever their influences were," Hancock said.

Clare Fischer is survived by his wife, Donna; sons Lee and Brent; daughter Tahlia; and three grandchildren.

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