Musicians Set for Clare Fischer Tribute; ‘Boatful of Blues’ on L.A. Harbor Cruise

Saxophonist Tom Scott, bassists John Patitucci and Jeff Berlin, keyboardist Patrice Rushen and drummer Ndugu Chancler are but a few of the L.A.-based contemporary jazz talents who are taking part in “A Tribute to Clare Fischer,” which will start at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Wadsworth Theater in West Los Angeles. The event, which will be emceed by the ever-chipper Chuck Niles, is sponsored by Musicians Wives, Inc. and is being held to offset medical expenses incurred by the Grammy-winning Fischer, a keyboardist-composer-arranger who suffered severe head injuries in an accident in July.

Fischer, who has worked with Cal Tjader, orchestrated for Dizzy Gillespie and Prince and had his tunes recorded by Art Blakey, is recuperating at his Studio City home. “Though he’s still suffering from short term memory loss, dizziness and depression, he’s greatly improved and the latest CAT scans show that blood clots in his brain that showed up after the accident have almost disappeared,” said the keyboardist’s son, Brent Fischer, a percussionist who plays in his father’s band.

Fischer said his father is back to playing every day, and “he wrote a new song as soon as he came home. He’s just taking it easy, reading and talking to a lot of old friends who are wishing him well.”


Not only will attendees at the tribute hear a lot of good music, they will be eligible for door prizes which range from a Kurzweil K-1000 synthesizer to signed LPs by Prince and Paul McCartney. Tickets, $25. Information: (213) 480-3232, (818) 760-6855.

Musicians Wives Inc. has established a Clare Fischer fund to further assist the keyboardist. Donations may be sent to Musicians Wives/Clare Fischer Fund, P.O. Box. 4685, North Hollywood 91607.

It’ll be a bluesy evening Friday as bandleader-singer Johnny Otis--who has oftened featured jazz-based performers in his ensembles--pianist Floyd Dixon and the Bernie Pearl Blues Band team up for “A Boatful of Blues,” a cruise of the Los Angeles harbor on board the California Hornblower yacht. The 3 1/2-hour event, which departs at 8 p.m. from Berth 93C in San Pedro (boarding begins at 7:15 p.m), is a benefit for the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. Tickets: $27.50. Information: (213) 426-4616.

Pianist Sir Charles Thompson--composer of the jazz classic “Robbins’ Nest” and a veteran of bands led by Lionel Hampton, Lester Young and Illinois Jacquet--will make a rare appearance at Webster’s, downtown Los Angeles, Sunday, 5 p.m. The performance by Thompson, who lives in the Southland but works mostly on the East Coast and in Europe, benefits the International Assn. of Jazz Appreciation’s “Jazz Goes to School” program.

Information: (213) 459-5589.

The succulent modern jazz of the late ‘40s-early ‘50s--as played and recorded by such stellar groups as the Clifford Brown-Max Roach quintet and the Tadd Dameron sextet featuring Fats Navarro--will be re-created Tuesday, starting at 9 p.m., when trumpeter Scott Scheuerman leads the Metropolitan Boptet at Gio’s in Hollywood.

The band, which spotlights pianist Frank Strazzeri and tenorman Doug Webb, also plays compositions by the leader and Strazzeri but focuses on the older music--with arrangements transcribed off original recordings by the 30-year-old Scheuerman, a Los Angeles native who lived in Europe from 1983-86.

The trumpeter says it’s important that people understand the different schools of modern jazz: “People have misused the word be-bop . They say John Coltrane was playing be-bop and that’s not true--he played something completely different. Be-bop is a specific thing and I’m just trying to play it for what it is and not confuse it with other forms of mainstream (jazz).”

Scheuerman finds there are a lot of reasons to be a be-bop devotee. “It’s my favorite type of music to play and think about. It’s challenging, and, you know, you can dance to it, too.” At least when it’s not too fast.

Information: (213) 876-1120.