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2016年3月20日 星期日

Lisa Fischer and the Grand Baton at the Cultural Centre (文化中心的麗莎. 費雪與大指揮棒樂隊)

Every once in a while, you attend a concert in which the artist talks to you, whispers to you, talks to herself, talks a bit about herself, makes jokes, watches the other members of her group perform, appreciating, encouraging them, urging them on, gently helping them along with her own voice, her body movement, sings her own songs, sings the songs of others or those written specially for her, sings songs of widely different genres, cries, shrieks, coos, reflects, glides along, scats or suddenly explodes in a thousand expected and unexpected ways, all within two hours in an evening. 





I heard one recently. In fact, last night. It was the concert of the Grammy Award artist Lisa Fischer who used to be a background/back-up singer for such stars as the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Chaka Kan, Melba Moore and Billy Ocean now teamed up with an incredibly talented band called Grand Baton led by its composer, arranger and multi-string and keyboard instrumentalist Jean-Christophe Maillard, with Tierry Apino on the drums and Aidan Carroll as Bass Guitarist and backing vocals.


Appearing on stage with bare feet and an African style loose gown of wide light brown and beige bands, she skilfully manoeuvred three mikes, one fixed, and sometimes one and sometimes two hand-held mikes held at different distances from her mouth, with which she created some incredible echoing effects, with or without electronic delays of up to half a second, the echoes blending, merging and fading into and complimenting each other seamlessly in different numbers of basically blues-based, rock based and sometimes Broadway numbers.  From the Programme Notes, I learn that she had picked up her singing techniques and musical style from a number of top notch blues, rock and jazz singers or musicians like Aretha Franklin, Bobby McFerrin, George Benson, Diana Ross, Laurie Anderson, Tedddy Pendergras, Dianne Warwick, Grover Washington, Melba Moore, Al Jarreau etc. to develop her own very unique and inimitable personal style of singing.  She knows what a voice is and what it can do, with and without other musical instruments. Her very rich musical background does leave its marks on her.

Her programme of the evening featured 13 numbers. In chronological order, they are as follows:

1. Addicted to Love ( Robert Palmer)
2. Bird in the House (Todd Shaeffer)
3. Breath of Heaven  (Chris Eaton/Amy Grant)
4. Eric Bibb.C Hoglund
5. Fever (Eddie Colley/Otis Blackwell
6. Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)

7. How Can I Ease the Pain (Lisa Fischer/Narada Walden)
8. It's Only Rock and Roll (Rolling Stones)
9. I Love you, Porgy (Ira Gershwin/George Gershwin/Du Bose Heyward)
10. Jumping Jack Flash ( Rolling Stones)
11. Miss U (Rolling Stones)
12. Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin)
13. Wild Horses (Rolling Stones)
































Lisa Fischer
sings with an incredible voice range, from bass, alto to soprano and displays an equally amazing range of sound volume but always just right, When she is not singing, she dances on the stage or just sways her body along with the rhythm of the music. One can see that she doesn't sing and make music. She lives and breathes music and rhythm. I don't know what she'd do without rhythm and music. Perhaps because she's black, she's got that bluesy feeling in her soul which she has absolutely no difficulty in displaying and with such obvious apparent lack of unneeded exaggeration. Everything comes across so naturally.  She has got this wonderful gift of making us enjoy her music with her. She comes down from the stage, invites the audience to sing along with her and even dances with her and generally makes us feel one with her, with her music and her moods.
How can you fail to be affected by a figure exuding such natural and endearing charm! Often, she sings with her eyes closed or half closed and she appears not to care at all how she looks when she twists and contorts or puckers up her face in the agony of her singing, unlike some of the other lesser artists who are always more concerned about how they look than about the quality of their voice and the feeling which comes out from that voice. It's the music and feeling embodied and given expression in such music which is at the top of her mind.  Of course, I don't think the evening would be as enjoyable and the sound as musical without the crucial input from the very sensitive arranger and guitar and keyboard player Jean-Christophe Maillard, whose guitar and other string instrument and musical arrangement may at times sound a bit like Indian sitar music in certain of the numbers, with a very special contemplative mood which suggests the unending undulating rhythms of life itself. The sound, the lighting, the intimate and winsome personality of Lisa Fischer all combine to make everything that night the purest fun and enjoyment, with excellent music to boot. And of course, we had a wonderful encore piece, What more could one ask for?