Eric Frazier: In Your Own Time (2006)
I tend to have a weakness for this sort of album, even though I could make several suggestions to improve this individual effort. Percussionist/vocalist Eric Frazier is a New Yorker who came from a Brooklyn background and graduated from Boys High School there. He received a degree from Southern Illinois University and earned two masters degrees and a doctorate from Columbia University Teacher's College. In addition to his studies on the art of the conga drum, djembe drums and African dance, Frazier is also the author of several books of poetry.
In Your Own Time begins with the user-friendly "Feeling So Unnecessary," sounding very much like a jazz riff from the Blue Note early 1960s (eg. "The Sidewinder"). The tune is a simple, infectuous bit of soul jazz from an era when this type of music got regular exposure on the radio. Jeremy Pelt's trumpet and David Lee Jones' alto sax, along with Eric Frazier's congas and percussion, make this a fine start. Frazier takes the vocalist role on "The Jazz Spot," a tribute to a local Brooklyn jazz club where the musicians hang. The feeling and the intention is there, but the vocal part is weak. It seems almost as if the headlining jazz saxophonist grabbed the mic and sang a song while the audience might be thinking that he'd be picking up that tenor sax again in only a few more minutes.
"Que Tanga Un Buenhdia" is pure street Latin jazz and smartly delivered in a Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers motif. On other tracks, the groove is more relaxed, with Frazier either singing or playing. "Celia," a Celia Cruz tribute, is really jazz with Latin percussion, and "Here To Stay" is a tribute for Luther Vandross that is well intended but sinks under Frazier's vocals. New Orleans trumpet whiz Maurice Brown takes over on about half of the album, and the reliable Danny Mixon provides piano backing throughout.
Among the missing pieces here are is the fact that the album provides so many different kinds of urban music that it's hard to find the best way to describe In Your Own Time. The soul-jazz, Latin jazz and R&B infuences are all there on separate tracks. A unifying theme might have been the presence of the drum, but even that is not evident on all of the tracks.
Track Listing: Feeling So Unnecessary; The Jazz Spot; Que Tanga Un Buendio; I'm Impressed; I Found A Way; Celia; Here To Stay; Like A Lion In The Serengeti; That's It!
Personnel: Eric Frazier: congas, percussion, vocals, lyrics; David Lee Jones: alto sax; Danny Mixon: piano; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet (1-3,6); Maurice Brown: trumpet (4,5,7-9); Stanley Banks: bass (1,2,4,5,7-9); l Luis Arona: bass (3,6); Alvin Atkinson: drums; Rick Wayacan: percussion (3); Christopher Robinson: background vocals (2,3,5).
Record Label: Self Produced