Fisher to Mix It Up With Stellar Saxman McPherson

During three years in Europe, bassist Glen Fisher rose quickly to the top of the Euro music heap, becoming so busy with work that he quit the Vienna Academy of Music. There were tours with the Brazilian jazz and pop group Mato Grosso and the Brazilian funk band Yes Brazil, plus assorted club and concert work in a variety of musical settings.

Back in his native San Diego since last year, the 26-year-old Fisher is trying to regain his foothold. Tuesday night at 8 at San Diego City College’s “Jazz Live” concert in the campus theater on C Street, he will take a step in that direction when he performs alongside San Diego’s internationally known stellar saxman Charles McPherson.

Fisher and McPherson met in 1984 and again in 1985 during jam sessions led by Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham at the Bahia.

In 1986, Fisher left for Vienna, where he eventually recorded two albums with German saxophonist Sigi Finkel. One of these, “Nil,” which means “Nile,” has received regular play on KSDS-FM (88.3), generating numerous phone requests for repeats. The other, a live recording made at the Montreux jazz festival, isn’t available yet. “Nil” can’t be found in local stores, but Cow CDs, LPs and Tapes in Ocean Beach will take delivery of several copies later this month.


Fisher has also recorded with bluegrass star Byron Berline and a gospel group.

“I like playing different kinds of music, being authentic in the styles I’m playing, before I do anything that’s a breakthrough,” Fisher said. “I’m just trying to get a good foundation.”

For this concert (which is free and will be simulcast on KSDS), he’ll be joined by Alfredo Cardim on piano and Danny Campbell on drums. Fisher’s brother Mark will sit in on guitar for two tunes, and McPherson will join the group for an entire set.

Elsewhere, Fisher mixes up rock and jazz Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights at the Salmon House restaurant in Marina Village on Mission Bay, in a band called Fish & the Seaweeds.

At City College, the San Diego State University Jazz Ensemble will open the evening at 7:30.

In the mid-'80s, Jimmy and Jeannie Cheatham introduced Oceanside guitarist Bob Boss to bassist Marshall Hawkins and drummer John (Ironman) Harris at the Cheathams’ Bahia jams.

Boss, Hawkins and Harris later banded together as Seahawk Music, and for the past four years, the promising group has been trying to land a recording contract.

Boss, who teaches at UC San Diego, grew up in the Bay Area and has lived here for seven years. His best-known recording is a 1981 session with new age flutist Ernie Mansfield, but Boss’s heart is in jazz.


He counts guitarists Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell and Joe Pass as influences, but is determined to settle into his own style.

“Carlos Santana said people try to sound like him and that bothers him, because your sound is your face, your identity. Why would people try to sound like someone else?”

This Friday and Saturday nights at All That Jazz, next to the Wall St. Cafe in Rancho Bernardo, Seahawk Music will focus on the music of the great jazz composers: John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington. The trio format will give Boss room to ramble.

“I’ll have a chance to really stretch out,” he said. “I’ll be playing the melodies and probably the bulk of the solos.”


Boss is in good company. Harris’ lengthy resume includes work with singer Carmen McRae and pianist Horace Silver. Hawkins recorded with singer and pianist Shirley Horn during the 1960s and later worked with Miles Davis and Roberta Flack.

Music at All That Jazz begins at 8, and there are three sets per night. Admission is $7.

Nashville guitarist Mitch Watkins grew up in Texas and assimilated a variety of blues and rock, but he’s a jazzman at heart.

“I grew up with rock--Hendrix, Clapton, guys like that, then I found my way into jazz through people like John McLaughlin, and through him to more traditional players Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino and old George Benson. I studied those guys in college,” said Watkins, who plays shows at 8 and 10 tonight in a one-night stand at Elario’s.


Watkins’ new album “Curves” is his second, and he opts for more of a live sound than on “Underneath It All,” his first album, which made extensive use of overdubs and other electronic enhancements.

In concert, Watkins uses pre-recorded instrumental sounds to help him replicate music from the first album, and he sometimes plays guitar synthesizer.

“I mainly use the synthesizer not to make my guitar sound like a flute or something, but to add background color to what I’m playing,” he said. “I usually blend it with a guitar sound. I’m not into playing guitar and hearing people say, ‘Wow, that sounds like a saxophone.’ ”

Sleeper of the week: appearances this Friday and Saturday nights at the Ruse at the Marquis Public Theater by Mexican composer and Arturo Cipriano, with the group El Costumbre. The group’s new album, recorded in Tijuana and named after the band, blends primitive Mexican Indian hymns, chants and percussion sounds with scorching, up-to-the-minute urban jazz.


Cipriano handles saxes, flute and vocals, and the group also includes Tijuana musicians Juan Casillas on piano, Jorge Pena on percussion and Rosa Inez Monraz on vocals.

Cipriano’s music has the same soaring, primal spirit as the late-1970s music of Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira and his wife, vocalist Flora Purim. His songs move easily from free-form, dissonant group improvisations that would be right at home in a New York loft, to gently pulsing Latin rhythms over which flutes and vocals soar through spirited melodies.

Music begins at 8 both nights.

RIFFS: Wednesday night’s Lites Out Jazz at the Catamaran features saxophonist Hollis Gentry. Music begins at 8. . . .


Part 6 of the Miles Davis radio biography airs Thursday at 11 a.m. on KSDS-FM (88.3) and Saturday at 2 p.m. on KPBS-FM (89.5). Part 7 airs Dec. 16 from 7-9 p.m. on KSDS, repeating Dec. 20 from 10 a.m.-noon, and on KPBS Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. . . .

Singer Anita O’Day is featured on KPBS-TV’s “Club Date” jazz program Saturday at 8:30 p.m., repeating Monday, Dec. 17, at 1:30 p.m.