Nick Fraser Quartet performs next concert in Pro Series

This article is over 6 years old.

Close-up photo of Nick Fraser playing a cymbal
Toronto drummer Nick Fraser brings his quartet to the Lorne Watson Recital Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 4. (Photo by Brett Delmage)

BRANDON, Man. — For one incredible evening of music, Toronto jazz drummer Nick Fraser brings his quartet, featuring New York City saxophonist Tony Malaby, to the Pro Series at Brandon University (BU).

Cellist Andrew Downing and bassist Rob Clutton will join Fraser and Malaby on stage at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m.

“Working with Tony and this quartet is very special for me, not only because of the considerable instrumental abilities of each member, but because they are all extremely committed to their work and to their own artistic development,” Fraser said recently. “They’re very passionate and powerful players who push me to, or past, the limits of my own musical conception.”

The band will present tracks from its newest recording entitled Starer. Of this endeavour, CBC Radio’s Bill Stunt wrote: “Fraser not so much plays the drums as hurls himself whole body and soul against skin and metal … truly talented.” Glen Hall of Exclaim! Magazine found Starer’s cuts to be “both inviting and challenging, and … played by superb musicians. Throughout, Fraser’s drums are fully engaged, not in accompanying his band mates but in bringing percussive sonorities to the melodic flow of ideas. Fraser’s conception is utterly musical, highly personal and sonically creative. Starer is highly recommended.”

Fraser explains that improvisation propels his work as he is inspired by the notion that he and his fellow musicians can explore endless layers, while being guided by the works he has written. He provides a fresh take on his chosen idiom through his ideas, like borrowing the sound of the cello from a more traditional environment and giving it a new outlet for its voices, to blur the lines between what is expected and what the group’s sonic journey can share with its audiences.

“For example, extremes of the dynamic range, or juxtaposing traditional musical language with more experimental gestures, swinging between collective improvisation and more soloistic action,” Fraser said. “Adding my compositions into the mix allows for, in addition to those things, a range of intentionality in the music.

“Maybe having a composition that all four of us can play at the same time lends a deliberate or purposeful feeling to the music that purely free improvisation doesn’t have, or at least doesn’t have as often.”

The Lorne Watson Recital Hall is located in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building, at Brandon University. Tickets will be available at the door prior to the performance or in advance at the School of Music main office. They are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, students and BU alumni, and $10 for Conservatory students. Subscriptions are still available: $75 for adults, $40 for seniors, students and BU alumni, and $30 for Conservatory students.

The next Pro Series presentation will feature the Julie Husband Quartet from Winnipeg. The programme will include Claude Bolling’s Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano. That concert will take place Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m., also in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant through Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For an up-to-date listing of Pro Series and student performances, please visit

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, and educates students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.


To receive any BU publication in an alternate format please contact

About BU

Success is built at Brandon University. Our growing, progressive campus welcomes a diverse and inclusive community that combines proud tradition with shared ambition. Through our excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, we educate students to make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders. Join us at