As any jazz musician hopes to do, Moses Lake’s Nathan Fisher continues to walk at his own pace after graduating in June with a musical performance degree from Central Washington University.
Fisher is preparing for his audition to be accepted into the exclusive Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of California Los Angeles in 2022. He said he plans to spend the next few months training, perfecting his craft and hopefully performing in Washington. .
Originally born in York, England, Fisher said his parents commuted between the UK and the US. But he said he had spent most of his life in Moses Lake, outside of six months in 2009, and considered himself a native.
His father, Nick Fisher, was born in a small rural town east of London and has been a professional bass player for several decades. Fisher also said it was hard to underestimate his father’s influence and support for his development as a musician.
âHe listens to music of all kinds; I’ve been exposed to Mozart, Gentle Giant, alternative rock, classical music, jazz fusion, all kinds of music, âFisher said. “He was the one who encouraged me to join a group.”
Fisher started his musical journey with the clarinet, but admitted it only lasted a few weeks before moving on to the instrument he’s stuck with, the trumpet. A little naive at first, Fisher said he thought the trumpet would be a little easier to grasp.
âI was in the college marching band class and I’m looking behind me and there’s a row of trumpeters,â Fisher said. âOkay, there are three buttons and two parts that work, it seems a little easier, whereas with the clarinet there is like a button for each note. I was really naive at the time and thought to myself, well, the trumpet is easy and the rest is history.
Fisher said he has since learned that the trumpet is one of the most difficult instruments to learn and master, and it is a very physically demanding instrument to play. He said that mastering the trumpet can be a bit of a mental game, calling it a “never-ending project.”
He quoted a quote from famous trumpeter John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie who, paraphrasing, said that there are days when a musician takes the trumpet and wins and days when the trumpet wins. This continues until the musician dies and the trumpet wins. It’s a dark, but precise quote, Fisher said.
âLearning the trumpet, or any instrument, is an ongoing process, you have to accept that you are never perfect, you learn to accept the fact that you are always growing,â said Fisher.
From his early days in the jazz orchestra class at Chief Moses Middle School until his transition to the orchestra program at Moses Lake High School, Fisher said there were countless teachers and conductors who played a big part in his growth as a musician.
Fisher said he didn’t know where he would be as a musician without the band members and high school teachers who taught him to have fun playing music and being a part of this creative community. He also said that all of his teachers at the CWU have been instrumental in helping him continue to grow as a trumpeter and musician, learning life through music and the importance of âauthenticityâ in a performance.
Fisher said he could go on to list the classical musicians and composers who have shaped and influenced him over the years. Miles Davis was a key influence for Fisher from the start and he said it was hard to overstate how important Davis was to jazz music, with the creativity he brought to the genre. And Roy Hargrove is a trumpeter according to Fisher who never seems to quit his musical rotation.
Jazz has been Fisher’s primary focus as a genre throughout his musical career, but he said the classical music training he learned at the CWU in recent years “has worked wonders” for him. in his progression as a promising musician.
âYou can know all the cool scales and harmony stuff, but if you can’t play your instrument well with good technique, you can’t really express yourself,â Fisher said. âOne of the most important things was being able to play the trumpet with the right technique. It was a hell of a fight, but it was totally worth it. “
Now that his time at the CWU is over, Fisher has said that for the next year and a half he plans to spend a lot of time listening to music, finding new artists, new genres, and applying them to his own style. He said he hopes to accomplish this through intense practice while working on his own improv skills and musical training.
He said he considered different opportunities after graduation, including playing with a band on a cruise ship for a stint. But eventually, he said he decided to keep finding gigs to perform in and around the city and Washington. He also plans to start trumpet and improvisation lessons in town, continuing to practice the trumpet as often as possible.
Nathan Fisher and his father performed in a jazz trumpet / bass duo together under various band names including Affirmation and Sherbet Image, even releasing an album, “Sketches,” available on Spotify and YouTube.
They are looking for opportunities to perform around Moses Lake and in the meantime the Fisher duo will be performing at Michael’s Market & Bistro (221 W. Broadway Ave., Moses Lake) from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on July 24, and again. at the same location on August 21. The performances are free for clients.
Fisher said his goal in life was to make a living as a recording / performing artist, making music that “really matters” and carrying on jazz and Western musical traditions.
âIt sounds pretty broad, but I just want to make an impact; I just want to play music that means something, that is a force for good in the world, âFisher said. “There are a lot of ways that could happen.”