Nick Fraser has been an active and engaging presence in the Toronto new jazz and improvised music community since he moved there from Ottawa in 1995. He has worked with a veritable “who’s who” of Canadian jazz and improvised music including Justin Haynes, Mike Murley, Rich Underhill, P.J. Perry, Phil Dwyer, Michael Snow, John Oswald, Andrew Downing, Jean Martin, Christine Duncan, Lina Allemano, Quinsin Nachoff, Dave Restivo, Jim Vivian, David Braid, Ryan Driver, David Occhipinti, William Carn, Nancy Walker, Kieran Overs, Kelly Jefferson, John Geggie, Scott Thomson, Marilyn Lerner, David Mott, Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, Ron Samworth and Kirk MacDonald.
In addition, he has had the opportunity to perform and/or record with such international artists as Tony Malaby, Michael Moore, Bobby Shew, Donny McCaslin, Marilyn Crispell, Anthony Braxton, Joe McPhee, William Parker, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bela Fleck, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Wynton Marsalis, David Binney, Steve Turre, Matt Welch, Bill Carrothers and Bill Mays. Nick’s recorded works as a leader include Owls in Daylight (1997), Nick Fraser and Justin Haynes are faking it (2004) and Towns and Villages (2013).
For 10 years, he co-led the co-operative group Drumheller with Brodie West, Rob Clutton, Eric Chenaux and Doug Tielli, who released four critically acclaimed CDs between 2005 and 2013. Other projects that occupy Nick regularly are Ugly Beauties (with Marilyn Lerner and Matt Brubeck), Peripheral Vision, the Lina Allemano Four and Titanium Riot.
Nick is a founding member of The Association of Improvising Musicians of Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to the Toronto improvising community.
“Fraser not so much plays the drums as hurls himself whole body and soul against skin and metal… truly talented.”
Bill Stunt, CBC Radio.
“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 he’s 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. His solos were clearly focused on the musical rather than macho displays of dexterity—though in order to do what he does, it’s clear that he possesses all kinds of technical facility.”
John Kelman, All About Jazz