Born: August 5, 1952 Primary Instrument: Guitar
The signature style of guitarist, David Frazier, is a versatile blend of musical cuisine. He combines tasty jazz innovations with spicy funk grooves, soulful blues licks and passionate Latin rhythms to serve up a fresh and vibrant new sound that’s distinctively different. “. . . this multifaceted guitarist . . . hints at a soul rich in blues history . . .” comments writer, Jonathan Widran, in a recent review in “JAZZIZ” Magazine.
Receiving his first guitar at the age of eight, this gifted guitarist has evolved through a lifelong musical journey of self discovery and self study to capture the spirit of heartfelt emotion. Inspired by the fire of Carlos Santana, the warmth of George Benson, the elegance of Joe Pass and the rock/fusion of Larry Carlton, he developed an original style and created a recipe he calls “jazz infused rhythm & groove.”
David Frazier has performed before enthusiastic audiences for several years at clubs, festivals and events throughout the Southeast. Frazier was the opening act for Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons’ at the New Orleans House of Blues and was one of the featured opening acts for Lee Ritenour at the 1998 “Chet Atkins Musician Days” in Nashville. He also shared the playbill at last year’s “Chet Days” with such musical legends as Lionel Hampton and Ernie Watts. Opening for Boots Randolph at the 1997 “Chet Days,” event producer, Tom Morales of TomKats, Inc. said, “We want David back each year. His music really reaches me!” Frazier has performed at other premier venues that include Caffe Milano in Nashville and Snug Harbor in New Orleans, and he has been a regular at the Chicago-based jazz club, Ringside at Sullivan’s in Baton Rouge.
“My music comes from my heart,” Frazier says. “Music brings joy to the spirit. My goal is to touch people with my music in a positive way. I love performing with my band. Magic happens on stage and the audience feels it.”
David Frazier A Touch of Blues (Cats Paw)
Maybe it’s a bit unfair to begin a review of David Frazier’s sharply realized debut, A Touch of Blues (Cats Paw), by railing against another version of Sting’s pretty-but-over-covered “Fragile,” but the simple truth is that this multifaceted guitarist doesn’t need something so obvious to show us what he’s made of. On the other hand, this umpteenth cover of Carlos Santana’s “Europa” is positively dreamy, and it gives Frazier seven minutes to modulate from sharp, crackling tones to distorted fuzziness.
Throughout, Frazier’s fiery interaction with the Hammond B-3 of Tyrone Jackson hints at a soul rich in blues history. However, Frazier never lets it consume him. Next time, he should consider letting it. For instance, on “Spirit Dance,” Frazier once again varies his tone from clean to fuzzy —- this time atop a shimmering B-3 bed. However, Jackson’s piano solo belies the edge that Frazier is aiming for. It’s as if the guitar is being pulled back into Pleasantville when it really wants to burn a bit more.
As he aims for a distinctive sound, Frazier can’t help but recall others who do the same type of thing. He simmers like Neal Schon and creates edgy electric melodies like Steve Laury. And surely, he soon will compete with fellow newcomer Gil Parris in the realm of bluesy smooth jazz.
Brian Soergel of L.A. JAZZ SCENE Magazine
David Frazier, A Touch of Blues is the artist's debut release on Malaco Jazz/Cat's Paw Records. This eclectic collection offers original compositions by the artist and his own innovative arrangements of some popular favorites. The eleven cuts speak an emotional message in selections ranging from moody and seductive melodies to funky make-you-wanna-move grooves. The CD is top quality contemporary jazz . . . his playing is joyful to listen to. ‘Miles Away’ and ‘Metro Groove’ puts the happy into happy jazz.”
Dean M. Shapiro Offbeat Magazine, New Orleans, LA.
David Frazier A Touch of Blues to be fine wine that has to be sipped slowly to be fully savored.
B. R. Bontemps
Frazier displays that energy on stage at every live performance as chronicled by a number of music writers. “ . . . smooth yet driving, like WOW! David Frazier not only matches some of the great jazz guitarists lick for lick, he puts his own soul into each and every note . . . hot, hot , hot . . . it’s very nearly a spiritual experience,” writes B. R. Bontemps
Jay Vee Music
David Frazier A Touch of Blues (Cats Paw)
“This is great jazz from the first note until the last. These guys love what they’re doing and it shows.”
JOHN WIRT Entertainment writer The Advocate Baton Rouge, Louisiana Published on 1/21/00
Contemporary guitarist gives jazz A Touch of Blue
The latest CD from David Frazier has brought the local contemporary jazz guitarist good reviews and widespread radio play. Following his self released 1997 debut, Kid Charlemagne, Frazier signed with Cats Paw Records, a Mineola, N.Y. based label distributed by the Jackson, Miss. based Malaco Records.
Frazier is understandably proud of A Touch of Blues, the result of his Cats Paw/Malaco deal, which was released early last year. At The Advocate recently, he pulled out page after page of positive press and comments.
The guitarist's cover version of Santana's Europa, writes Jonathan Widran in Jazziz, is positively dreamy. Widran adds that Frazier will soon compete with fellow newcomer Gil Parris in the realm of bluesy smooth jazz.
Brian Soergel writes in L.A. Jazz Scene that Frazier's work is an example of the tremendous work being done on smaller labels. The CD, Soergel adds, is top quality contemporary jazz. And Dean M. Shapiro in Offbeat, New Orleans' fat monthly music magazine, judges A Touch of Blues to be fine wine that has to be sipped slowly to be fully savored.
Besides print and Internet reviews, A Touch of Blues has expanded the musician's radio exposure from the 20 or so stations that played Kid Charlemagne to 100 national and international stations, Frazier said.
We were on the air in Sydney, (Australia), so we felt like that was a great accomplishment, he said.
Listeners familiar with the Kid Charlemagne CD, will see many similarities between it and A Touch of Blues. The latter disc consists of six newly recorded cuts and five tracks that originally appeared on Kid Charlemagne.
At the suggestion of his record company, Frazier dropped his Kid Charlemagne stage name. Two of the Kid tracks also were edited, a suggestion of some radio programmers.We had a good relationship with radio (with Kid Charlemagne),Frazier recalled. We had some programmers that really enjoyed the music. We incorporated a couple of their ideas.
Getting this positive feedback was great, he added. When you work with radio, they want something that gets right to the point. You can have long intros for a performance, but in radio there's only so much air time. If you get lucky enough to have your material played, you've got maybe three, four minutes. Cats Paw Records hired radio promoter Roger Lifeset to pitch Frazier's latest CD to radio. Contemporary smooth jazz, Frazier said, a lot of promoters will work a CD for eight to 10 weeks, which is what we had. But to really work the contemporary smooth jazz, it takes a good six months to a year. Contemporary smooth jazz is a niche market.
The promotional work apparently paid off. Frazier has even enshrined a copy of his first A Touch of Blues royalty statement from BMI. The check was copied and framed and then cashed, he said.
Though Frazier concentrated on getting radio play for his new CD last year, his performing credits include the Showcase Lounge, Snug Harbor and the House of Blues in New Orleans, as well as the Chet Atkins Musician Days Festival in Nashville, Tenn., and the Panama City Jazz Festival. Frazier will make a hometown appearance Jan. 21 at M's Fine and Mellow Café.
You try to set performances where you're getting airplay, the guitarist said. If you've got something on the radio, people are gonna hear it. If you're gonna have a good chance at selling CDs nationally, you have to have radio airplay in some pretty major markets.
Popular though smooth jazz stars like Kenny G and Boney James are,the genre's often branded by critics as shallow pop jazz. Frazier, who more often refers to his style as contemporary jazz rather than smooth jazz, defends the smooth jazz genre.
I don't know why people would get upset, Frazier said. A lot of people enjoy Kenny G's music. Kenny G has led a lot of people to jazz.
Contemporary smooth jazz has always been a real interesting form of expression to me, Frazier added. Smooth jazz comes from your heart. When you do a live performance, you can expand and really reach out and touch people. You can tell when you reach an audience. You get a nice, warm feeling from it.
Frazier also thinks smooth jazz goes deeper than its detractors suggest.
If I were to look at the forerunners of smooth jazz, I'd have to look at the late, great Grover Washington. He had a big influence on me,because I not only listen to guitar players, I listen to horn players also. I listen to sax players. I listen to Miles (Davis). Anybody that's gonna get into jazz is gonna have to listen to these other artists.