Hugh Fraser, Stunt Driving and the Power of Flowers

What richness flows out of Hugh Fraser! While it’s true stunt driving and split second timing were involved in picking Hugh up and actually getting to Café Ça Va, peace and majesty prevailed, once we were there.

I was thrilled to find an exquisite bouquet of flowers waiting for me, and a tender note, from Lois Keane Flowers…needless to say this inspired the music-making! Perhaps the highlight of the evening was playing Hugh’s heartbreakingly beautiful composition ‘Fairytales’.  As well, Hugh graced me with a copy of his newest Hugh Fraser Quintet release “Concerto”. Beautiful! I’ll quote Hugh from his liner notes, as he thanks his band members Ross Taggart, Campbell Ryga, Dave Robbins and Ken Lister, “I cannot say enough about the artistry, virtuosity, and personal dedication Cam, Ross, Dave and Ken bring to the Quintet.  They are all leaders, composers, performers and educators of the highest level, and have dropped everything to follow me to the most exotic and extreme opportunities I have created to share our collective joy of playing – from the first to last note of every performance, total dedication to the music and the peace and love it brings make any other challenges drop away.”

Hugh Fraser

Thanks Hugh, hugh-fraser2 Imagefor a quietly tremendous night.

The Kozmik Zoo is extinct but what a life it had!

Kristian Alexandrov's BDay! best piano player EVER!!!!

Kristian Alexandrov’s BDay! best piano player

All thanks to Tina Overbury LYBS for helping out in SO many ways, to Adrienne Montani of BC First Call, to Sharon and Bill for your constant support, to the BAND for being so totally ALIVE and to our beloved friends and fans new and old, whose shining eyes make it all worthwhile.

Magic Tonight @ The Genesis Theatre – Holly & The Naturals

“Nature Girl“ is the newest CD release from leading Vancouver composer/lyricist/flutist/vocalist Holly Burke. Holly has been on the scene in Canada and the US for decades and has quietly persisted to produce creative, texturally rich and evocative music that often transcends genre.
This current offering combines elements of World Beat, Fusion Jazz, Avant-Pop, Ambient, and enigmatic forms that defy description. Some of the wide ranging musical influences include; Paul Horn, Diane Reeves, Hubert Laws, Eric Satie, Bill Evans, Pat Metheny, and Michael Brecker.
The compositions include some moving lyrical content, exciting and thoughtful improvised instrumental soloing and some infectious grooves combined with fresh harmonic content, thoughtful arrangements, brilliant performances by a crack band that includes some of Canada’s best musicians, pristine recording values, and a pervasive sense magic and mystery.


The tune that became “Serengeti” first came to me as a sort of wistful celtic melody in 6/8.  It was hard for me to play it though. Serengeti soon became my obsession and most challenging tune, the problem child of the whole batch! It took long hours and days for me to be satisfied with my initial H2 recording. When my collaborator and arranger Bill Runge first heard it, he was excited about the time signature because I had nothing in that feel yet.
In all, we had ten versions of Serengeti in development over many weeks before the chart was completed.  Bill had the vision of transforming it into an African adventure…complete with a small plane flying in over the Serengeti above herds of wild zebra and wildebeest. I had some grooves to add and an intro. Bill sprinkled his stardust over the whole thing, named it, and added the awesome solo section changes.
The band was sounding and feeling so amazing that day, I just let it loose and played for my life!Almost everything you hear on this track is from the original recording day at Bluewave Studios in Vancouver. Randall Stoll came in and added layers of percussion over his epic his drum tracks. I had a lot of fun adding sound effects afterwards, like the animal hooves, crickets and the Morrocan woman’s “ululation”.
Finally I asked John Korsrud if he could come in and lay down some trumpet because I thought that would be “elephant-like” and just take the track over the top. John also suggested fluegelhorn for the melody parts, rather than trumpet because it was a better blend with the other horns. Good call.Our engineer Ken Burke was fooling around with his new camera on a recent float plane trip he took. He decided to put “Serengeti” under it and post it on You Tube, just for fun. It went viral and had over 6000 hits within a month…

I guess our problem child is showing promise…Cheers – and I hope you enjoy”Serengeti” as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Players: Chris Gestrin – Fazioli piano
Doug Stephenson – electric bass
Randall Stoll – drums/percussion
Bill Runge – soprano sax/synth pad/arrangement
John Korsrud – trumper/fluegelhorn
Holly Burke – flute/vocalese
Engineer – Ken Burke @ Bluewave Studios