*Editor’s note: This is just one of four stories the Truro Daily News will run on musicians with Colchester County ties being nominated for at least one 2013 East Coast Music Award. The awards will be given out during the week of March 6 to 10. Part one featured Matt Brouwer; part three featured Charlie A'Court; part four featured Lone Cloud.
The Birch Hill native’s ‘Portage’, released by the Will Fisher Coastal Quartet, is up for jazz recording of the year at the 2013 awards event, taking place from March 6 to 10 in Halifax.
“I was thrilled by the nomination,” said Fisher, a drummer who just turned 25 two weeks ago. “There are a lot of people that have been nominated over the years for this award that I have so much respect for, so to be put into that same category and have our hard work acknowledged, I’m thrilled. It’s incredible.”
Living in Toronto now, Fisher said he will be heading to Halifax for the event, and he goes straight from the airport to a rehearsal with his fellow band members.
“I’m really looking forward to making connections and meeting musicians in the industry. I’m really hoping to get this album into the hands of some dignitaries that want to do some bookings and have us playing.”
While attending Brookfield Junior High, Fisher said it was through Rick Hiltz that he had his first jazz experience.
“He was an amazing teacher,” Fisher said, of Hiltz. “He was one of the best I’ve had.”
Upon leaving the junior high school, Fisher attended Cobequid Educational Centre where he was a member of as many jazz programs as he could fit into his schedule over the course of three years.
He learned both from Paul Barrett and Rick Waychesko.
“Truro is such a vibrant music community to grow up in,” he said. “I love jazz because of the interaction between musicians. There are conversations happening all the time.”
Fisher said one of the benefits of being a musician is finding one’s own path and own voice.
“It’s the same way with a singer-songwriter writing their own lyrics and then performing – my voice came out in jazz. It’s my musical medium.”
The drummer completed his Bachelor of Music in jazz performance at Humber College before heading south of the border on a full scholarship for the international masters quartet at the University of Louisville.
“Coming out of Humber College, I thought maybe I should record an album. It was the next logical step in my career.”
With a grant from the province of Nova Scotia to help with the process, Fisher went to work seeking out musicians to collaborate with.
“A lot of the musicians I had been playing with had moved, so I thought about a new band. Based on my experience with a variety of people, I found something unique.”
Joining Fisher on the album are Jon Challoner, Mikko Hilden and Mike Downes, along with two guest pianists – Matt Giffin of Middle Musquodoboit and Nancy Walker.
“I couldn’t have asked for better results,” said Fisher, who believes the fact he took about two months between the recording process before actually listening to the finished product was of benefit. “I think giving myself that time allowed me to get out of my head. At the time, I was so involved with the music, but I’m happy with how well everyone played. It came out really strong and how I envisioned it would have sounded.”
Half the songs on the album are ones Fisher wrote, and there were two contributions from band members. All the songs are originals, except for ‘Cape Breton Lullaby,’ which is a traditional Nova Scotia folk song the band did an arrangement of.
ABOUT WILL FISHER:
Native of: Birch Hill
Currently resides: in Toronto, Ont.
First jazz experience: with Rick Hiltz at Brookfield Jr. High School
ECMA nomination: jazz recording of the year for the Will Fisher Coastal Quartet’s ‘Portage’
Upcoming performance: the Will Fisher Coastal Quartet is performing at Roadside Willies in Bible Hill at 8 p.m. on March 9. This is the first time Fisher is returning to perform in the area since the initial ‘Portage’ release tour in 2011.