Late on a cold weeknight in February, a quiet Santa Barbara neighborhood was engulfed in the fiery free jazz sounds of Colter Frazier and Matt Crane. Despite my best effort to confine their music to my home, it traveled liberally through the walls into the still suburban air. This evening, the neighbors would eat their dinner with a side of avant-garde cacophony.
Inside my home, at the epicenter of this disturbance, Colter Frazier and Matt Crane had no care for the volume of their sax and drum duo. Then again, I can't fathom that any person participating in the magical interplay of musical improvisation would concern their mind with anything other than the resulting momentary gratification. When Colter Frazier and Matt Crane improvise together, spontaneously interweaving their melodies and percussion with mastery and precision, one can only begin to imagine the plane of existence that the two of them find themselves inhabiting. On this evening that plane was somewhere in the realm of pure musical paradise.
Colter Frazier is somewhat of a Santa Barbara legend. I first heard his music late at night in the practice rooms at UCSB, back in 2004 when he first arrived in town. Since then Colter has released 3 albums: Bakash (2006) a sax/flute/bass trio recorded while he was working as a musician in Cairo, Egypt; The Colter Frazier/Rob Wallace Duo (2007) which was his first work in the improvised sax/drum duo genre; and The Colter Frazier Quartet, a sax/viola/bass/drums quartet that showcases Colter's compositional skills. The quartet recording was described by the Santa Barbara Independent as being "among the most mature and beautiful jazz debuts in recent memory," and AllAboutJazz.com called it "a stunning debut, worthy of the highest praise." Despite his impressive resume, Colter can often be found performing for small, appreciative audiences in tiny Santa Barbara coffee-shop-by-day/art-space-by-night venues.
Sometime right around the start of 2009, some weeks before we recorded this session, Colter met Matt Crane, an outrageously talented percussionist from New York City. The story goes that Matt was visiting Los Angeles and was told to head to Santa Barbara in his quest for good jazz on the West Coast. Inevitably, Matt found himself staying at Colter's home. The two began playing jazz gigs around town, eventuating in a performance at Muddy Waters where One Night Music Producer Elia Vargas was present and eager to convince them to perform a session. Several weeks later they were in my living room, after bedtime, on a work night, connecting on a musical wavelength that can only be understood by watching these amazing videos.
Recorded in Santa Barbara, CA on February 23, 2009.