Facts & Figures
Peter Fraize, tenor saxophone; Paul Pieper, guitar; Jon Ozment, piano; Nathan Kawaller, bass; Leland Nakamura, drums
Union Records URCD -11
Washington DC-based tenorman Fraize turned some heads on his recent visit to the UK’s South Coast, especially with his appearance at Love Supreme Festival, but his name may not elicit an immediate response from the wider jazz public in the UK. This fine recording illustrates the wealth of talent that’s to be found in the US, awaiting discovery. Fraize is the long-standing head of Jazz Studies at George Washington University, and has a wide-ranging discography encompassing everything from fusion to free, but at heart he’s a hard-blowing contemporary tenorist in the lineage that reaches back to Rollins and Trane, as brought to the present day via Brecker and his peers. The Ides Of March incorporates some very current rhythmic twists and turns, and fluid guitar work from Pieper – A Step Towards Grace is powered along by the kind of loping groove that Elvin Jones specialised in, providing a background over which Fraize cuts loose with a solo of dazzling intensity. Euclid House uses cunningly planned stops and starts and latin interludes to create a playful altered blues; While He Sleeps is a long-form waltz that constantly subverts expectations, and features an impressive Hancock-flavoured solo from Ozment. Leo is a ballad that demonstrates Fraize’s chops as a writer – Freezer Full Of Math shows how tight and swinging the band can sound over a fiendishly complex structure. This is tough, powerful, hard-swinging music, with superb performances from the outstanding band and some memorable compositions and state-of-the-art arrangements showing how much vigour can still be found in the post-bop tradition. Seek it out.