Eddie Fisher and his wife Christina over the weekend while working on a story in East St. Louis. Christina was showing me the community theater (complete with computer lab and video studio) she and her husband use to give kids in particular something constructive and educational to do, when she mentioned that her husband is a jazz guitarist. I'm a big jazz fan, I say. Let me show you something, she says. She takes me into Eddie's office and there's a picture of Eddie and ... Herbie Hancock, she says, and another of Eddie with ... Wayne Shorter, I say. You are a jazz person, she says. Yes mam, I say.
Meanwhile, Eddie's outside fixing up some junkyard furniture for the garden patio he's building in front of the theater, even though he's played with Booker T. & the MG's, Isaac Hayes, Solomon Burke and Albert King and toured Europe 10 times and is in the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame (he was born in Little Rock) with Herb Ellis, Louis Jordan and Pharoah Sanders, among others, pretty good company.
When I got home, I downloaded "42nd Street," his last CD, cut in 2001, from iTunes. In his playing style, Eddie Fisher makes me think of ... Eddie Fisher. If he sounds comparable to anybody, it's George Benson or maybe Jimmy Ponder and there's a little Grant Green and Wes Montgomery in his playing, too. The music moves my feet from the opener, "Who Loves You," and has a funk, Motown, soul thing going along with the blues in the mix, as on "Ah Blues Thang." All the songs are Fisher's. "Mr. Smooth" is as driving and powerful as any jazz guitar performance I can recall and it gets balanced nicely by "For You Babe," the pretty ballad that follows. Good musician and a good guy.