PICTURES is arranged by Brent Fischer like the original work, with ten movements and five interludes totaling over forty minutes of music. The CD offers an engaging booklet filled with quotable material about the back story plus how art, science and math intersect here. There are also curated photo exhibitions plus three bonus tracks: additional studio takes featuring different soloists. In his liner notes, Fischer states “These are
not sequels or alternate mixes. They are equals to the other takes…While the arrangements and some key themes may be similar to the other versions, the rhythm section interpretations and solos are completely different.”
More than a century ago, Mussorgsky was inspired by a friend’s art exhibit when he wrote the original suite for piano. Today social media technologies allow everyone to express themselves by posting pictures. “Just as the original work was meant to be paired with paintings as an added artistic layer, so I have created this adaptation to be paired with other art”, says the arranger who now adds his current yet timeless creation to
popularized versions of the classic by Ravel, Allyn Ferguson, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Isao Tomita. This album is the next step for the Brent Fischer Orchestra after successful albums in collaboration with other artists including D’Angelo, Elvis Costello and The Roots.
In his arrangement, Fischer preserves the essence of the original masterpiece and adds elements of orchestral rock, funk and blues while staying firmly within the modern jazz idiom. How is this possible?
Fischer explains in his liner notes: “Rhythmically speaking, the one item that distinguishes jazz is the use ofthe laid back or swung upbeat. Jazz is still jazz without these 8th note upbeats, but in that respect it has evenmore in common with these other styles…By doubling the rhythmic value of Mussorgsky’s melodies, most of them would not contain 8th notes anymore and so would still sound the same as the original even as some of
my favorite jazz musicians on the planet were swinging hard around them…Those 8th notes that remained in some movements could be treated in a Latin context and again keep their original character. In this way, I am focusing on the similarities between these styles while retaining the freedom to accentuate their differences when it was idiomatically befitting.”
PICTURES is produced by Brent Fischer for Clavo Records and was recorded at Village Studios all in one day this summer with engineer Matt Brownlie. “We had played the material for a while so it was time to memorialize it in its pure form” states Fischer.
To engage fans, Fischer invites listeners to curate and share their own exhibitions on social media as they enjoy the album. “Let your imagination run wild according to how the music moves you. Pair it with art, food or your favorite collection of beverages. The sky is the limit, or maybe not if you pair it with your favorite celestial bodies!” says Fischer.