Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

240

Colter Frazier Quartet: Colter Frazier Quartet

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Tucked away in Santa Barbara, California, tenor saxophonist Colter Frazier has been quietly creating a striking blend of new music that draws inspiration from myriad sources. The self-titled debut of Frazier's working quartet features Nick Coventry (viola, violin), Miles Jay (bass) and longstanding musical duet partner, Rob Wallace (drums) on an intriguing set of originals that seamlessly fuse chamber music, free jazz, minimalism and Eastern folk music traditions into a cohesive whole.

A tasteful and inventive composer, Frazier's writing tends toward the chamber-esque, with periodic interludes of turbulence and rousing rhythmic activity. He generates a kaleidoscopic array of textures and tones from his string heavy ensemble during the austere opening of "Lloyd's Prayer," which slowly builds to a coiled, throttling theme, while "Hopes of Reunification" slyly alternates restrained pointillism with hyperactive staccato interjections reminiscent of Anthony Braxton and Raymond Scott. "4 Days and 5 Months" and Miles Jay's "Flight School for Sparrow" draw on muscular modal forms and vibrant intensity, approaching Coltrane- esque levels of expressionism.

The quartet embraces a vast dynamic range; the somber dirge "Unknown Strain II" exudes sinewy sonorities and serene melodic arcs while "August Ballad" unleashes spasmodic free discourse filled with harsh angles and coarse edges. The episodic "Lonely Friday" reveals Frazier's expert skills as an arranger, while "1-22-07" demonstrates delicacy and nuance as the quartet plies a brisk regal miniature brimming with neo-classical majesty.

The ensemble's empathetic interpretations of Frazier's opulent tunes reveal a symbiotic rapport. Individual solo statements are effortlessly integrated into the overall fabric of each piece as communal expressions, which reach a fevered pitch on "Flight School for Sparrow," and introspective depth on "Where000."

Frazier's mastery of the tenor saxophone encompasses a vast range, from hushed overtones to coruscating multiphonics. His aesthetic inclinations are subservient to his compositional goals however; although capable of extreme dynamics, he is no mere pyrotechnician. Alternating soaring unison lines and thorny contrapuntal themes with Coventry, the pair veers from songbird like harmonies to terse sinewy lines fraught with dramatic dissonance.

Jay and Wallace eschew predictable swing in favor of inspired polyrhythms and colorful textural accents to support Frazier's multi-layered pieces. "Late Again" even hints at the driving early minimalism of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich while the modal ostinatos of "4 Days and 5 Months" and "Flight School for Sparrow" borrow harmonic elements from Middle Eastern traditions.

Frazier avoids conventional strategies for improvisation in his heady compositions, focusing his thematically direct works towards specific goals. The fully notated "Focus" closes the album on a telling note. A repeated bittersweet refrain from paired strings and tenor frames Wallace's percolating percussive commentary, ending the record on a harmoniously unorthodox note.

Arriving fully formed with a singular artistic focus, the Colter Frazier Quartet is a stunning debut, worthy of the highest praise.


Track Listing: Lloyd's Prayer; Hopes of Reunification; Where000; 4 Days and 5 Months; August Ballad; Late Again; Flight School for Sparrow; Unknown Strain II; Lunch with Osby; Lonely Friday; 1-22- 07; Focus.

Personnel: Colter Frazier: tenor saxophone; Nick Coventry: viola, violin; Miles Jay: bass; Rob Wallace: drums, percussion.

Title: Colter Frazier Quartet | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: pfMentum

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
 

Duo

pfMentum
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Without You CD/LP/Track Review
Without You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Internal Combustion CD/LP/Track Review
Internal Combustion
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Chant Triptych II CD/LP/Track Review
Chant Triptych II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Oasis CD/LP/Track Review
Oasis
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Les Oiseaux de Matisse CD/LP/Track Review
Les Oiseaux de Matisse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Drum Solos For Dancers Only CD/LP/Track Review
Drum Solos For Dancers Only
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read "From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray)" CD/LP/Track Review From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD...
by John Kelman
Published: September 22, 2018
Read "Egregore" CD/LP/Track Review Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "The Hands" CD/LP/Track Review The Hands
by John Eyles
Published: February 12, 2018
Read "Closer To Home" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To Home
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Cabin In The Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Cabin In The Sky
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 16, 2018
Read "Globe Unity - 50 Years" CD/LP/Track Review Globe Unity - 50 Years
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 2, 2018