Tuesday, September 24, 2013


In celebration of their new CD “Towns and Villages”, the Nick Fraser Quartet played their brand of avant-garde jazz to a packed house.   For me, it is encouraging that a crowd is coming out to hear creative jazz music performed at the highest level.

Nick Fraser, at such a young age, is one of the most creative drummers and composers working in the Canadian jazz scene.   He treats the drums as an orchestral palette of textures, hues and colours, not just for the sake of keeping time.   He recalls the great Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, and even more avant-garde jazz drummers like Rasheid Ali and Andrew Cyrille.  

Nick’s compositions are well structured, put together, while at the same time creating emotional dynamics that enthrall the listener.   One moment the music becomes tranquil and peaceful, the next moment the music becomes intense and volcanic.  

A word about the supporting musicians:

Cellist Andrew Downing proves time and time again why he is a force to be reckoned with on his instrument.   He plays the cello with such passion, soul and heart, elevating the music into one which is about feeling the moment, not just going through the emotions.

Saxophonist Tony Malaby plays with such fire and passion that it bring excitement into the complex music.    Bassist Rob Clutton plays such effective contrapunctal lines and freeing up the time so that the music breathes and comes to life on its own.

This ensemble ranks right on par with groups lead by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton.    Nick’s music is not one for casual listening or for those wanting background music.   But for those that have ears to hear and want to be challenge, this is a band to watch out for.   


(FROM LEFT:  Andrew Downing, Rob Clutton, Nick Fraser, Tony Malaby)

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