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Hugh Fraser Quintet: In The Mean Time

Bluster and bombast are mostly all that comes through on this shameless display of bravado, as recorded live during a 1996 performance at Vancouver’s Glass Slipper. Printed on the trayback is a blurb credited to Slide Hampton which refers to trombonist/pianist Fraser as “a genius,” but this hyperbole is hardly justified by the athletic exercises in multiphonics and other sorts of brash technical insensitivities heard within. The other musicians involved in this alternately commonplace and appalling enterprise are sopranist/altoman Campbell Ryga, tenorman/pianist Ross Taggart, bassist Ken Lister and drummer Blaine Wikjord, and while there are some good points to the sidemen, most specifically the speed of their fingers and their ability to play in tune, I have especially grave reservations about Fraser, both as trombonist and pianist. Apparently, though, Slide doesn’t, for he-or someone-goes on to say that “Anything that [Fraser’s] involved in has to be good. If you want a really great musical experience, buy this CD.”

Originally Published