THOMAS FISCHER was born and raised in the Chicago area and moved to New Orleans in 1989 to join the Band of Banu Gibson. One of the City’s most sought-after clarinetists, he has performed everywhere from Preservation Hall to Carnegie Hall, in France, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Scandinavia and the UK, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Australia, and has toured Japan on a regular basis since 1998.
Tom continues to be a featured performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Summer Fest, and many jazz festivals throughout the world. He often performs or has recorded with such artists as Lionel Batiste, Mark Braud, John Brunious, Wendell Brunious, Lucien Barbarin, Lars Edegran, Wendell Eugene, Gerald French, Banu Gibson, Duke Heitger, Freddie Lonzo, John Rankin, Kermit Ruffins, Al Hirt, Larry Scala, Seva Venet, and Don Vappie, to name but a few. Dubbed “one of the best” by Times Magazine, he teaches Jazz clarinet at the University of New Orleans.
Having received his formal training with classical clarinetist Bernard Portnoy at Indiana University – and his informal training on the clarinet and Saxophone in the Jazz clubs of Chicago and New Orleans, Tom Fischer’s playing reflects his love for the great New Orleans clarinet tradition. In 1990, he was featured soloist for Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra.
For five weeks in 1992, he made his first experience abroad on a quite unusual State Department tour to the Middle East, with Eddie Bayard and his New Orleans Classic Jazz Orchestra, including such places as India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arabian Emirates, Yemen, Qatar, and others. Also in the early Nineties, Banu Gibson took him on a tour to Australia. Tom discovered Germany (Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe) with clarinetist Tim Laughlin, played in Norway and Sweden, made his first appearance at the Ascona Jazz Festival, in Basel, St.Gallen et al. in the band of Lars Edegran, went to France (i.e. Perigeaux, Gap) with Don Vappie, to the Edinborough Festival, Dublin, Cork, and Belfast with Jimmy La Rocca and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band – and soon became a regular with the bands of John Bruneous and Wendell Bruneous on their many tours to Japan.
Wendell Brunious and the New Orleans All-Stars were on their annual tour in Japan when Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005. Back in the U.S., Tom rejoined his family in Atlanta. After tour with Mark Braud‘s band and Charmaine Neville to Europe (Ronnie Scott’s/London, Spain, Turkey) in November, he played again in New Orleans from December and his family eventually moved back to the Crescent City in February 2006. In that same year, Ed Polcer gathered him and several other New Orleans artists for a tour around the U.S. . Tom also returned to play in Ascona, Switzerland together with Mark Braud.
Main tours since 2007 have included New York City with Henry Butler’s Steamin’ Syncopators (Metropolitan Museum of Art) as well as Don Vappie (Zankel Hall at Carnegie), Moscow with Konstantin Gevondian and again the Ascona Jazz Festival (2012) as a regular member of the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band with it’s present leader Gerald French. Actually the oldest Jazz band in the world, it was founded by Papa Célestin as early as 1910.
Nowadays in New Orleans, Tom frequently performs in all major venues including Snug Harbor, Preservation Hall, Irving Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, the New Orleans Jazz NHP at the Mint, the Bombay Club or the 21st Amendment, among others. Leading two to three times a week the New Orleans Jazz Band at the renowned Fritzel’s European Jazz club on Bourbon Street (Tim Fischer and friends), his other weekly appearances include Arnaud’s Jazz bistro, The Palm Court Jazz Café, The Palace Café, as well as the Steamboat Natchez.
Tom Fischer has appeared on many recordings on the Jazzology and Stomp Off labels, among others. Recent recordings include N.O.Blues (Tom Fischer, 2014), The Fritzel’s Jazz Band Vol.1-3, Duke Heitger’s Steamboat Stompers Vol. 2 (2014), Swing – Stories from New Orleans (Larry Scala Band, 2014), Jambalaya Town (Richard Scott, 2014), We Partyin’ Traditional Style (Kermit Ruffins, 2013), Tribute to Bob French with the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band (Gerald French, 2013), Fritzel’s New Orleans Jazz Band Vol3 (2012), Mississippi Belle (Daryl Sherman, 2012), The Storyville Years (The Creole Syncopators, 2011), and The Classic Jazz Trio with Tommy Sancton and John Rankin (2010).