Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Caesar Frazier: Closer to the Truth (Savant)

A review of the organist's debut album on Savant

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Closer to the Truth by Caesar Frazier
The cover of Closer to the Truth by Caesar Frazier

Hammond B-3 vet Caesar Frazier and company offer listeners drawn to vintage jazz organ abundant relief with this album, clearly inspired by the keyboardist’s organ-combo influences. Suffice to say, fans of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott, and Don Patterson, to say nothing of guitarists Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, and George Benson, have reason to cheer.

Though Closer to the Truth marks Frazier’s label debut on Savant, his list of credits, including a pivotal association with saxophonist Lou Donaldson, is as impressive as it is long. Unsurprisingly, the 11 performances here are stamped by Frazier’s authority and soulful, none more so than the Benny Golson standard “Blues March,” cast as a hypnotic funk interlude streaming with evocative solos by the bandleader, tenor saxophonist Lyle Link, and guitarist Jacques Lesure. Selecting album highlights is tricky, though, since repeat spins of Nat Adderley’s “Jive Samba,” George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland,” and Frazier’s own “Codes” reveal new virtues and nuances.

While there’s a lot to be said for Frazier’s slow-burn finesse—check out the album’s lovely, brush-stroked coda “That’s All”—the keyboardist also swings with consummate ease, adroitly aided by drummer Leon Joyce, Jr. Uncluttered and unfussy, the arrangements are another big plus: roomy enough to showcase each member of the group without resorting to routine exchanges.

Check the price of Closer to the Truth on Amazon!


Mike Joyce

A former editor of JazzTimes, Mike Joyce has written extensively on jazz, blues, country, and pop music for The Washington Post, Maryland and Washington, D.C. public television stations, and other outlets.