Music: Jeffrey Fisher

Fisher's new Triumph

Inspired by visual art, Jeffrey Fisher’s Triumph of the Spirit recording uses the sounds of orchestral instruments to create music reflective of humankind’s consciousness serving as the bridge between the heavens and earth.

“There is an evolution of the human spirit that will triumph over the forces of darkness,” explains Fisher. “It’s a progression of enlightenment that leads to understanding both our world and our place in the universe.”

Although he has played many different types of music, from rock to jazz, during his career, Fisher chose to make this music orchestral because he feels the sounds from these symphonic instruments are universal.

“European musicians created and refined the instruments in a symphony orchestra over hundreds of years.  Those sounds are proven to affect the listener’s mind, body and spirit in a positive and uplifting way.  Yes, this music can be looked at as ‘modern classical music’ because of the instrumentation, but many of the melodies and motifs are more influenced by jazz, blues, indigenous music and pop-rock than by traditional classical repertoire.  The idea is not to mimic or re-configure Beethoven, but to create something new for today’s audience.”

While the melodies and instrumentation are mentally stimulating, the music also resonates deeply within the listener on several levels.  This combination provides a calming and relaxing atmosphere for enjoying the music which allows the recording to fit well into new age lifestyles from massage therapy to Reiki.

Fisher’s CDs can be purchased at record stores and specialty shops throughout the United States, as well as online at his website (, webstores such as (purchase Triumph of the Spirit) and, and many digital download locations including iTunes.

Fisher composed this music a decade ago while living in the artistic community of Taos, New Mexico, where his friend Charles Collins (a renowned painter and one of the leaders of the modern Southwest style) was creating a collection of work titled Triumph of the Spirit (also the name of the painting that appears on the cover of Fisher’s CD).  As Collins unveiled each new sketch and began his painting, Fisher used the imagery and symbolism as inspiration to simultaneously write a new orchestral composition.

When Collins finished the initial five large paintings, Fisher unveiled his associate musical pieces in a collaborative show.  Some of these Collins paintings (known for their use of light, translucent glazes and timeless themes) can be viewed at in the section “Between Worlds.”

Now Fisher’s Triumph of the Spirit CD is being released and marketed internationally for the first time.  The title composition relates the feeling of an indigenous person leaving a place of classic perfection to make his way in the earthly world.  Fisher explains “The Beginning of Wisdom” as an attempt to capture “a moment of enlightenment, a leap into another world to see who we really are.”  The music for “Emperor of the Soul” is “symbolic of two worlds coming together, two forces colliding, until man emerges from the ocean reborn.”  The piece “Rituals of Paradox” represents “the birth of civilization.”  “Eternal Companions” brings together the companionship theme of humans with other beings, with nature, and with God.

“Because I’ve played in various kinds of bands and orchestras all my life, I hear the sound of each instrument, and have studied their combinations.  I work in a very traditional way, using score paper to put down each instrument.   However, today’s composers have something that did not exist in the past — a digitized orchestra. This allows the composer, in a cost-effective way, to achieve his or her vision exactly, to paint freely with the sounds.”

Fisher is an incredibly versatile musician who has professionally performed new age, world music, neo-classical, traditional jazz, blues, rock’n’roll, folk and R&B.  He has played more than a dozen different instruments, and is highly proficient on piano and acoustic standup bass.  His last album was the orchestral Fairy Tales (a score for the ballet “Hans Christian Andersen”) premiering in Palm Springs in 2006, and the CD winning both iParenting and Parent-to-Parent awards [1] . 

He also has five other previous neo-classical/new age CDs (Moon Song, One Hundred and Eight, Clouds, The Healing and Angels of the Rays), several specifically designed for healing and massage therapy.  Other compositions include works for string quartet, solo piano, marching band, jazz band, jazz vocals, woodwinds, and acoustic bass in various ensemble settings.

Fisher has performed with jazz great Frank Morgan, the Thelonius Monk-inspired traditional jazz group Evidence Quartet, the Charles Connally Texas Blues Band, Stax Records vocalist Lee Sain, folksinger Sun-Day Martinez, Spanish music legend Antonio Apodaca, world-music bandleader Achyutan [2] , and New Mexico’s Trio Jalapeno, among others.  Fisher even performed Gaelic music on ice instruments at a ski resort situated at 11,000-feet elevation.  He graduated from the Grove School of Music in Los Angeles with a certificate in composing and arranging, and went on to study under top teachers to further explore film scoring, orchestration and acoustic bass performance (taught by Terry Plumarie and Frank Tusa).

Beyond the world of music, Jeffrey is a true Renaissance man.  He is an accomplished painter (oils and watercolors) who has exhibited in both museums and galleries.  He has published five volumes of poetry and a book on Chinese philosophy and martial arts (T’ai Chi Basics).  He teaches T’ai Chi Chuan; gives acupressure, Reiki and reflexology treatments; and lectures widely on nutrition and healing.

Over the years he has taught a wide variety of skills to others including music, painting, writing, cooking, mathematics, philosophy, and general “educational improvement.”  When he wasn’t making a living playing music, Jeffrey worked at a variety of jobs including designing and building stage sets off-Broadway, being a motorcycle messenger in New York City, tuning pianos, working in a print-shop and book-bindery in San Francisco, “bucking hay” (stacking bales), picking cherries, cleaning acequias (irrigation ditches) in New Mexico, running art galleries, framing pictures, and building houses (and other construction jobs).

Jeffrey attended Pomona College, where he studied writing, music, acting and experimental theatre. An avid reader, especially of French poetry and the Beat Generation writers, he found the academic world too limiting, and at the age of 17 left for San Francisco to work on his writing. After attending the Aspen Writers Workshop and New York University’s School of the Arts, Fisher moved to Buffalo to attend the state university and studied everything from computer languages and neuro-physiology to William Blake and vibraphone.

After playing drums in a popular local rock band and attending the original Woodstock Festival, Fisher began learning guitar and decided to study the origins of blues guitar.  He spent several years playing in coffee houses and bars, and traveling across the country several times – one night hanging on to the back of a freight train with one hand while the other held his 1945 Epiphone acoustic guitar.  Fisher ended up in Berkeley where he started playing electric guitar on the blues and R&B “chittlin’ circuit” backing legendary artists.  Eventually he switched to standup bass and began to explore the world of jazz with his own group.

After several years of intense musical studies in Los Angeles, Fisher moved out of the big city to focus on composition and painting.  In the early Nineties, he composed and performed his first full-length orchestral composition, and also enjoyed the first solo museum exhibition of his paintings.

Fisher relocated to New Mexico for nearly a decade and lived in a small village outside of Taos.  Fisher began teaching T’ai Chi, a method for training the mind and body.

“T’ai Chi is the basis for my own philosophy and my life, and is integral in preparing me to create music.”  Fisher returned in recent years to the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs, the area where he was born and raised.  His home, ranch and studio run on solar energy and are totally off-the-grid.  He often uses nature as inspiration for his art, whether it is fruit groves in his paintings or naturalness [3]  in his music.

“Music can be a transformative tool,” explains Fisher.  “Music is like the food we eat or the air we breathe — it goes very much deeper than ideas, philosophies of social change or even religion.  I try to make my orchestral music very accessible so that anyone, even without formal training, can easily appreciate it.  I like to think my music tells a story, and all the instruments are characters with something to say.”

 [1] Did I win both of those—I don’t think I’m keeping them straight in my mind—I’ll check the email

 [2] Achyutan is actually the name of a musician, Marvin Patillo, from Kansas City—he recorded with Pharoh Saunders, played with Coltrane and extensively with Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson.  Achyutan is stil active in the Bay Area jazz scene—he is like my musical “family.”  He wouldn’t mind being termed “world music bandleader” or just “bandleader” . 

 [3] “organic forms” instead of “naturalness”??

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Music Entertainment Magazine

Triumph of the Spirit

Jeffrey Fisher

Triumph of the Spirit' marked an evolution in Jeffrey Fisher's career as a composer, presenting music born of an unprecedented collaboration with Taos, NM-based painter Charles Collins and his Between Worlds collection of paintings. With this album, Fisher delivers five breathtaking works, creating symphonic poetry, enlivening Collin's paintings with sound. 'Triumph' resonates with the winsome spiritual tone of Collins' paintings, playing with light, layers, translucence and timelessness. For Collins, one of New Mexico's most celebrated artists, this series of paintings also signified a great breakthrough: his revival of the transparent glazes of the ancient masters, which allowed him to visually express different layers of reality. All in all, this is a remarkable and historic collaboration to be explored by art and music lovers alike.

• Audio CD (August 14, 2007)
• Original Release Date: November 22, 2004
• Number of Discs: 1
• Label: Two Birds Flying/Healing Music of the Southwest

Listen to music samples from Triumph of the Spirit

Three delightfully dramatic compositions take you on a musical tour of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved tales. Expressly written for the ballet of the same name, Fairy Tales, produced in 2006, this suite is comprised of three segments: 'Inchellina (Thumbellina Variations)', 'Red Shoes', and 'The Little Mermaid'. Considerably more vibrant than popularized mainstream versions of the fairy tales, these pieces provide enjoyment for all ages while still cleaving to the intense magic and moral force of the original tales. This symphonic storytelling at its best is a must-have collection for fans of Hans Christian Andersen, and for young and old music lovers worldwide.

• Audio CD (August 14, 2007)
• Original Release Date: 2007
• Number of Discs: 1
• Label: Two Birds Flying/Healing Music of the Southwest

Listen to music samples from Fairy Tales