Born: April 3, 1976 Primary Instrument: Drums
Nick Fraser (drums) has been an active and engaging presence in the Toronto new jazz and improvised music community since he moved there from Ottawa in 1996. He has worked with a veritable who's who of Canadian jazz and improvised music including Justin Haynes, Mike Murley, Rich Underhill, PJ Perry, Phil Dwyer, Michael Snow, John Oswald, Andrew Downing, Jean Martin, Christine Duncan, Joe Sorbara, Lina Allemano, Quinsin Nachoff, Dave Restivo, Jim Vivian, David Braid, Ryan Driver, David Occhipinti, William Carn, Nancy Walker, Kieran Overs, Kelly Jefferson, Mark Eisenman, John MacLeod, Ken Aldcroft, Scott Thomson, Marilyn Lerner, Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, Ron Samworth, John Stetch and Kirk MacDonald.
In addition, he has had the opportunity to perform with such international artists as Michael Moore, Anthony Braxton, William Parker, Joe McPhee, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bela Fleck, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Wynton Marsalis, Mick Beck, David Binney, Ray Vega, Steve Turre, Matt Welch, Bill Carrothers and Bill Mays. Nick's recorded works as a leader include Owls in Daylight (1997) and Nick Fraser and Justin Haynes are faking it (2004).
He has worked extensively with Rob Clutton and Ronda Rindone in the cooperative trio This Moment whose debut album Beautiful Line was released in 2002 on the 9Winds label. He also co-leads the co-operative group Drumheller with Brodie West, Rob Clutton, Eric Chenaux and Doug Tielli who released their self-titled debut CD on the rat-drifting label in 2005 and its follow-up Wives in 2006.
Other projects that occupy Nick regularly are The Christine Bougie Band, The Gulf Port Island Trio, the Lina Allemano 4, Deep Dark United and The Bill Grove Quartet. Nick is a founding member of The Association of Improvising Musicians of Toronto, a non-profit organisation dedicated to advocacy for the Toronto improvising community.
The young Toronto drummer is perhaps a little too progressive for the hidebound Canadian scene... Fraser is a deft and sensitive percussionist with a hint of an enigmatic streak, a feeling for economical gestures, and an innate sense of form. -Mark Miller, The Globe & Mail
Fraser can swing hard when necessary, but hes equally a colorist with all manner of unusual tricks up his sleeve. Placing cymbals on the drums and pushing on them while striking them created a sound akin to a water gongs. His brushwork was impeccable, asserting time while, at the same time, creating richer texture, And his solos were clearly focused on the musical rather than macho displays of dexteritythough in order to do what he does, its clear that he possesses all kinds of technical facility. John Kelman, All About Jazz
Don Scott Quartet - Out of Line (independent)
Christine Bougie - Hammy's Secret Life (independent)
2006: Drumheller - Wives (Rat-Drifting)*
Lina Allemano Four - Pinkeye (Lumo)
Eric Chenaux - Dull Lights (Constellation)
Geordie Haley Trio - Polar Bears (independent)*
2005: Drumheller - Drumheller (Rat-Drifting)*
Digging Roots - Digging Roots (independent)
2004: Nick Fraser and Justin Haynes are faking it (independent)*
Men In Love - Men In Love (independent)*
The World Provider - Enabler (Ta-Da Records)
2003: Jordan O'Connor/Nick Fraser/Justin Haynes - Falling Forward (The Breath)*
James MacDonald - French Horn Sans Frontières (independent)
Gulf Port Island Trio - Last Fair Deal Gone Down (independent)*
2002: This Moment - Beautiful Line (9Winds)*
2000: Cash Cow - When We Were Little Girls (The Breath)
Jennifer Ryan and Cash Cow - Found (The Breath)*
1998: Shane Anthony Band - Hands Like Mine (The Breath)
Permanent Stains - Scour the Earth and Find Permanent Stains (independent)
1997: Nick Fraser - Owls in Daylight (Mutable Records)*
The Unbeatables - Debunker (Canal Records)*
Justin Haynes - Show (Unity)
1996: Tena Palmer/Justin Haynes - Not Drowning… Waving (Canal)
Geri Childs - An Intimate State of Mind (independent)
Navy Brown - Navy Brown (independent)
1995: The Unbeatables - The Great Dogs Are Loose in the Yard (Canal Records)*
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Willing to teach:
Nick has been part of the Ontario Arts Council's Artists in Education roster, conducting workshops in creative musical improvisation for Ontario High School students. He has conducted the workshop at Canterbury High School and Nepean High School in Ottawa, Oakwood Collegiate and A.Y. Jackson S.S. in Toronto, and Niagara District S.S. in Niagara-on-the-Lake. He has conducted improvisation workshops, master classes and drum clinics at universities and colleges as part of touring ensembles. This has included workshops at the University of Toronto, Malaspina College, Mohawk College, Capilano College, Grant McEwan College, The Ottawa Folklore Centre, LaSalle-SIA College in Singapore and the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. He has taught private drum lessons for students of all levels since 1994.