240

Colter Frazier Quartet: Colter Frazier Quartet

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Colter Frazier Quartet: Colter Frazier Quartet 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.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: pfMentum | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Back In Your Own Backyard CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin' CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Through The Glass CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Fugitive Beauté" CD/LP/Track Review Fugitive Beauté
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "The Harry Warren Song Book" CD/LP/Track Review The Harry Warren Song Book
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Mediterrana" CD/LP/Track Review Mediterrana
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Impermanence" CD/LP/Track Review Impermanence
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "Heavy Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!