|Composition by Clare Fischer|
|from the album Bossa Nova Jazz Samba|
|Released||September 1, 1962
December 11, 2012 (reissue)
|Genre||Bossa nova, jazz|
Solar Records (Reissue)
Not heard here; lyrics first recorded in 1982
|Bossa Nova Jazz Samba track listing|
"Pensativa" is a bossa nova jazz standard by American pianist/composer/arranger Clare Fischer, first recorded in 1962 by a quintet under the joint leadership of Fischer and saxophonist Bud Shank, and released that year as part of an album entitled Bossa Nova Jazz Samba, comprising music in this style, as per its title, all of it arranged by Fischer, and, with the exception of Erroll Garner's "Misty", composed by him as well. In retrospect, this would prove to be just the first of countless forays by Fischer into various areas of Latin music (with "area" denoting both genre and geographic region). This particular song was one of the first, and almost certainly the most famous, of all the foreign-born - i.e. non-Brazilian - bossa novas. Its form, though extended (64 mm.), is standard A-A-B-A, with each section consisting of 16 measures instead of eight.
With the exception of his contrastingly Cuban-styled composition, "Morning", "Pensativa" is by far Fischer's most frequently recorded work; it has been performed by a wide variety of instrumental groupings, ranging from assorted unaccompanied instruments - including piano, guitar and flute - to string orchestras, big bands, and a large assortment of ensemble sizes in between.
In addition to numerous recordings by the composer himself (including at least five released under his own name, plus many more featuring the composer as either co-leader, sideman, or arranger, all of them employing Fischer's arrangements),[a] it has been covered by a multitude of artists, including Bill Evans, Dave Valentin, Gene Harris, Jack Wilson, Bill Perkins, Brian Bromberg, Bob Florence, and Rob McConnell. Many more, including George Shearing, Gene Bertoncini, Hubert Laws, Billy Taylor, Bill Mays, Marian McPartland, Benny Green, Sam Most, Gary Foster, and Freddie Hubbard, have made "Pensativa" part of their regular repertoires.
In fact, of all the recordings made of this song (including those by the composer), by far the best known is the one arranged by Hubbard and recorded in 1964 by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, released in 1964 on the album Free for All.[b] While not surprising, given the All-Star calibre of its participants (the iconic Blakey himself, and his no less iconic Jazz Messengers, in this instance including three premiere soloists - pianist Cedar Walton and Hubbard on trumpet, plus the influential saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter), this state of affairs would prove extremely frustrating to the composer. Speaking to students at an informal clinic hosted by his brother Dirk in October 1998, Fischer explained:
That has been recorded by some jazz players - Freddie Hubbard is one of them. They don't understand two-beat samba, so they play it like a 4... [demonstrating], then they change the melody, then they change the chords, which are going into what we call bebop II-V. Mine go [plays mm. 9 through 13]. He recorded that with Art Blakey. Very famous. 85 percent of the people who know that song know it from that recording. Everyone who records it now plays it with the same cancer that I've had all my life with that song. I've been unable to disestablish that because I don't sell as many records as Freddie Hubbard. It gets to a point where you say, "Hey! It's my song. Yeah." Well, it doesn't make any difference.
Fischer's belatedly added lyrics for "Pensativa" were unveiled in 1984 by vocalist Sandi Shoemake, accompanied by the composer, on Shoemake's album Slowly, recorded in 1982. They were promptly reprised in 1985, again with Fischer accompanying, this time with a full rhythm section, on singer Lisa Rich's second album, Touch of the Rare. Subsequent vocal recordings have been made by Kaz Simmons (2004), and Iain McKenzie (2007), the latter singing his own lyrics. The late Washington-based jazz singer, Jan Wentz, also performed "Pensativa" with her own lyrics, but never recorded them.
As with each new dawn
Sun is giving the breath of day,
And warms the cold from night
And hovers softly o'er the sea of day.
And now with the twilight
You sit pensive and lost it seems
What lived so near last night
Is now converted into empty dreams.
For day starts once more anew
And lifts you from the clutching bonds of night
And leads you once more in search of happiness
Ever seeking on and on, searching endlessly for what is gone.
Then night drops its curtain
Making certain your loneliness
And fills a longing cloud [also: "and drops a shroud of gloom" - better!]
That leaves you in your lonely pensiveness.
- Bud Shank & Clare Fischer - Bossa Nova Jazz Samba, 1962
- George Shearing - Shearing Bossa Nova, 1963, woodwinds arranged by Fischer.
- Bill Perkins - Bossa Nova with Strings Attached, 1963, arranged by Bob Florence.
- Clare Fischer - So Danço Samba, 1964
- Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - Free For All, 1964, arranged by Freddie Hubbard.
- Freddie Hubbard - The Night of the Cookers, recorded live at Club La Marchal, April 1965.
- Gary Foster - Subconsciously, 1968, with Fischer, piano.
- Cedar Walton - Soul Cycle, 1969
- Clare Fischer - Reclamation Act of 1972, 1970
- Hubert Laws - Wild Flower, 1972, with string orchestra, arranged by John Murtaugh.
- John Hicks - Steadfast, recorded 1975, released 1980
- George Shearing - The Many Facets of George Shearing, 1977, duet with bassist Andy Simpkins.
- Bill Evans - Crosscurrents, recorded in 1977, released in 1978; also features saxophonists Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz.
- Charles Lloyd - Autumn in New York, 1979, strings arranged and conducted by Fischer.
- Poncho Sanchez - Straight Ahead, 1980, with Fischer, piano, arranger & conductor.
- Sandi Shoemake - Slowly, recorded 1982, released 1984; features Fischer on piano, accompanying Shoemake, who debuts the composer's belatedly added lyrics.
- Ed Bickert - Bye Bye Baby, 1983
- Lisa Rich (featuring the Clare Fischer Quartet) - Touch of the Rare, 1985, again featuring Fischer's lyrics, with the composer on piano and his son Brent on bass.
- Gene Bertoncini, Michael Moore, Edison Machado - O Grande Amor: A Bossa Nova Collection, 1986
- James L. Dean - Ceora, 1990, featuring Claudio Roditi
- Dave Valentin - Red Sun, 1992
- George Shearing - Walkin' , 1992
- Gene Harris - A Little Piece Of Heaven, 1993
- Terry Trotter - It's About Time, 1993, arranged by Fischer, who also follows Trotter's solo with his own uncredited half-chorus on electric piano.
- Eastman Jazz Ensemble - Live performance at the Eastman Theatre, recorded November 12, 1993, never released; arranged by Dirk Fischer (the composer's brother), conducted by Bill Dobbins, featuring Gary Foster.
- Clare Fischer - Just Me: Solo Piano Excursions, 1995
- Bill Harris - Solo + One, 1997
- Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass - Play the Jazz Classics, 1997
- Clare Fischer - The Latin Side, 1998, with the Metropole Orchestra, arranged by Fischer, who also plays piano, accompanying clarinetist Don Shelton.
- Michael Moore - The History of Jazz, Volume 1, 2000, with Ken Peplowski and Tom Melito
- Toledo Jazz Orchestra - Out of Nowhere, 2000
- Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra - Concert of May 17, 2002, recorded live, not released; arranged by and featuring Michael Abene.
- Clare Fischer & Helio Delmiro - Symbiosis, 2003
- Henry Franklin - Three Card Molly, 2004
- Bob Florence - Friends, Treasures, Heroes, 2005
- Sherrie Maricle & The Diva Jazz Orchestra - TNT: A Tommy Newsom Tribute, 2005, arranged by Tommy Newsom.
- Brian Bromberg - Wood II, 2006
- Jim Self - InnerPlay, 2005, strings arranged by Brad Dechter, featuring Self on tuba and long-time Fischer colleague Gary Foster on flute.
- Doug Beavers 9 - Two Shades of Nude, 2010, featuring trumpeter Alex Sipiagin.
- Quinn Johnson - Tunes, Bits and Other Pieces, 2011
- Bill Harris Quintet - Inside Out, 2012
- Roseanna Vitro - Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer, 2014
- These include George Shearing, Gary Foster, Charles Lloyd, Poncho Sanchez, vocalists Sandi Shoemake and Lisa Rich (debuting and reprising, respectively, Fischer's retrospectively added lyrics), and pianist Terry Trotter -
- According to the original liner notes Free For All, written by Nat Hentoff, Hubbard first heard the tune when he was on a gig in Long Island: "...and the pianist started playing it. The mood got me, this feeling of a pensive woman. And the melody was so beautiful that, after I'd gotten home, I couldn't get it out of my mind." Thomas Cunniffe on Jazz History Online writes: "The piece is ostensibly a bossa nova, but Blakey avoids the traditional samba beat and plays a deliciously loose and swinging Latin groove. Hubbard and Fuller share Fischer’s glorious melody, and Hubbard’s solo is one of his all-time best, balancing abstract length phrases and unadulterated lyricism. Shorter is more melodic here than anywhere else on the album, and Walton sparkles through his beautifully-crafted solo. Although Hubbard recorded an extended version of “Pensativa” on the 1965 Blue Note album, The Night of the Cookers, it is the rendition on “Free for All” that remains the undisputed classic."
- "Clare Fischer: So Danço Samba" (1964). All Music. Retrieved 2013-01-24. See also:
- "Clare Fischer: The Reclamation Act of 1972" (1970). Cugel Records. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Clare Fischer: Just Me: Solo Piano Excursions" (1995). All Music. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Clare Fischer: The Latin Side" (1998). All Music. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Clare Fischer / Helio Delmiro: Symbiosis" (2003). All Music. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Special Merit Albums: 'Bossa Nova Jazz Samba' - Bud Shank & Clare Fischer". Billboard. November 24, 1962. Retrieved 2013-01-24. See also:
- George Shearing (1963): "Shearing Bossa Nova". All Music. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- Gary Foster (1968): Subconsciously. mohaoffbeat.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- Charles Lloyd: Autumn in New York" (1979). discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- Bradford, Gary. "Records: 'Straight Ahead'". The Pittsburgh Press, January 2, 1981. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- Sandi Shoemake (1984): "Slowly". WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Lisa Rich: Touch of the Rare" (1985). CDandLP.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Terry Trotter: It's About Time" (1993). All Music. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "The Many Facets of George Shearing", Cadence, Volume 4, 1978. Retrieved 2013-01-29. See also:
- Wilson, John S. "Jazz: Shearing Trio", The New York Times, February 11, 1988. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- Heckman, Don. "The Acoustic Jazz Piano Renaissance : Recordings". The Los Angeles Times. April 14, 1995. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- "O grande amor a bossa nova collection". LOC online. Retrieved 2013-01-29. See also:
- "Wild flower [Sound recording]". WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-02-09. See also:
- Davis, Peter G. "Concert: Philharmonic Plays a Sequel in Harlem". The New York Times. February 17, 1981.'Retrieved 2013-02-09. "On a lighter note, Hubert Laws, the flutist, was on hand to join the orchestra in performances of Amazing Grace and Pensativa by Clare Fischer, as well as a movement each from a Telemann Suite and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4."
- "Billy Taylor Trio, Sept. 27, 1970". LOC online. Retrieved 2013-01-29. See also:
- "White nights and jazz in Leningrad". LOC Online. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- "For a Jazz Great, Some Great Jazz; A Tribute to the Art and Heart of Betty Carter". The Washington Post. April 14, 1999. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- Dryden, Ken. "Bill Mays: Solo and Trio". All About Jazz, March 6, 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-31. See also:
- Chinen, Nate. "Four Pianists, Teaming and Competing", The New York Times, July 24, 2011. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- "Live at Yoshi's Nitespot". LOC Online. Retrieved 2013-01-29. See also:
- Live at Shanghai Jazz. LOC Online. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- "The Place to Be". LOC Online. Retrieved 2013-01-29. See also:
- Feather, Leonard. "JAZZ REVIEW: Benny Green Shows His Versatility at Catalina's", The Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1994. Retrieved 2013-01-29. "When he is not amazing the crowd with his more obvious virtues, Green shows himself capable of graceful messages, as in Clare Fischer's 'Pensativa' and the almost Basie-like simplicity of 'You're a Sweetheart.'"
- Reich, Howard, "Benny Green's Pianism Electrifies", The Chicago Tribune, May 2, 2009. Retrieved 2013-01-29. "Similarly, in Clare Fischer's 'Pensativa,' Green exhibited a degree of tonal control one sooner expects to hear from classical pianists."
- Solo Flute (2009), Rhapsody. Retrieved 2013-01-31. See also:
- Organic Flute (2010). Rhapsody. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- Gary Foster (1968): "Subconsciously". WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-01-29. See also:
- Eastman Jazz Ensemble November 12, 1993. WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- Heckman, Don, "JAZZ REVIEWS: Foster Brings Sax, Romance to Newporter". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-01-29. "The repertoire was unusually diverse, ranging from familiar be-bop items such as 'Relaxin' at Camarillo' to Lennie Tristano's set of variations on 'All the Things You Are' entitled 'Ablution,' and Clare Fischer's lovely bossa nova, 'Pensativa.'"
- Aebersold, Jamey (1993). Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long - Volume 60 - Freddie Hubbard. Jamey Aebersold Jazz Inc. pp. i.
- Original 1964 liner notes by Nat Hentoff for Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers′ Free For All.
- Thomas Cunniffe, "Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Free For All (Blue Note 84170)".
- on YouTube. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- Feather, Leonard. "Vision of Dream Tunes in His Head; Jazz Briefs: 'Slowly' - Sandi Shoemake", The Los Angeles Times. March 18, 1984. "Clare Fischer plays on the first vocal version of his 'Pensativa.'"
- "Kaz Simmons: Take Me Home" (2004). All Music. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- Twice on Sunday - Iain McKenzie. Jazzizit Records. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- Jan Stentz Image & Bio. Tacoma Public Library. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
- Feather, Leonard, "Riding the Sound Waves at Otter Crest". The Los Angeles Times. May 21, 1989. Retrieved 2013-01-29.