I want to thank all of our friends, family and fans that came out to support Alexa’s Hugs last month at the Fort Collins Country Club. The evening culminated in a fantastic performance by Eric Gunnison, Mike Marlier, Mark Simon, Alex Nekrasov and myself. My nieces, Kathyrn and Emma joined us for their first jazz band experience on My Favorite Things, and Heidi Gunn and my husband finished up the evening with his harps on Route 66. I am extremely blessed with a musical family that loves to share their talents.
Alexa’s Hugs provides positive encouragement for seat belt and vehicle safety, with programs that emphasize the importance of seat belt safety and driver awareness in engaging and interactive events. Tad and Jona Johnson, lost their daughter, Alexa, to a car accident where she was not wearing a seat belt. To honor her life, they want you to wear your seat belts. Their “Alexa’s Hugs” seat belt wraps are a visual reminder to buckle up every time you get in the car – plus they are fashionable and fun! When you buckle up and feel the seat belt across your chest and around your waist, we hope you’ll think of a hug from a loved one. They want you safe. We want you safe. I want safe. Buckle up, turn on your jazz and drive safe!
Seriously Folks! I am one extremely blessed lady to have Eric Gunnison as my musical director and piano player for The Carol Frazier Band! Based in Denver since 1980, pianist and composer Eric Gunnison has led a distinguished career during which he has not only established himself as one of the mainstays of the Mile High City’s vibrant jazz scene as an instrumentalist, bandleader and educator, but has also attracted a global following performing, touring and recording with internationally renowned jazz artists, particularly jazz vocalists. I have known Eric since the 80's when he played on my first recording!
Born on March 26, 1956 in Canandaigua outside Rochester in New York State’s Finger Lakes region, Gunnison was raised in Buffalo and graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1979. After playing piano for The Lettermen during the famed male vocal group’s 1980 tours of Asia and the U.S., he toured and recorded as the pianist and synthesizer player for the popular vocal quartet Rare Silk from 1982 to1986. From 1986 to 1991 he toured internationally and recorded as the pianist and arranger for the legendary jazz vocalist Carmen McRae and was the pianist accompanying McRae on her tours of Switzerland in 1988 and of Cuba in 1999 with Dizzy Gillespie. He also played keyboards for and toured with Nelson Rangell from 1993-1996 U.S and appeared on several recordings the saxophonist made for GRP during those years.
Gunnison’s current associations include touring internationally as well as recording with the sensational vocalist Roberta Gambarini, whom he has accompanied since 2001, and, since 2005, as pianist with the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars Big Band and Sextet with which he has toured the U.S., Europe and Asia. He has also performed with vocalist Rene Marie and the Christian McBride Big Band among others.
Fellow Denver-based artists Gunnison has worked with extensively include trumpeter Ron Miles with whom he has toured and recorded since 1997 including appearing as a clinician and pianist with Miles’s quartet at the 1st Annual Thailand Jazz Conference and at the Bangkok Jazz Festival in 2009. Gunnison has also been the pianist and a composer/arranger for the cooperative band Convergence, one of Denver’s leading jazz ensembles, since 1991. In addition to releasing several recordings, Convergence hosts a monthly series of appearances with special guest jazz artists at Denver’s premier jazz club Dazzle that since February 2010 has featured Roberta Gambarini, Rene Marie, Randy Brecker, Jim McNeely, Chris Potter, Christian McBride, Wallace Roney and Bobby Watson among others. Gunnison has also been leading and performing his own music with Wake Up Call, a fusion-oriented quintet he formed in 1991 featuring keyboards/synthesizers, saxophone, guitar, bass guitar and drums.
Active for more than 30 years as a sideman and studio musician on piano, synthesizers and other keyboards, Gunnison has also been a member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Denver’s Lamont School Of Music and on the faculty of the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts since 2000. You can hear Eric's incredible playing on the Life's a Ride album by listening to Angels Can Fly and Hypocrite. Currently Eric and I are working on new material to be recorded in February 2014.
Over the years of live performance, I have been extremely blessed on stage with the continued collaboration of amazing musicians, choreographers and dancers. My vision of the music comes alive as dancers grace the stage and musicians move into their individual voices and interpretation. Giving a stage to other artists to expand their art is a genuine mission of the Carol Frazier brand and band!
One of my all time favorite people, and extreme talented friends is Dave Beegle. I have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to co-write a song, perform live in several shows, record with and have him play and co-produce on my last two albums. Phil Keaggy calls him,” One of the most creative and accomplished guitarist’s I’ve met.”
What a memorable experience it was to sit on Dave’s studio floor, with Taylor Mesple’, as we allowed the melody line grow from lyrics to Whisper Your Name. The song was in the hands of two God gifted musicians who let the music speak the lyric that I had written years before.
Dave Beegle has been a major role in the larger Carol Frazier Band concerts, including the past show at The Fort Collins Lincoln Center. The comfort I have knowing he is on stage and the ability to give him the role of musical director to balance the band, sound engineers, dancer and myself. His soft spoken, yet direct approach to creating a great experience for everyone on the stage and the audience has been a great role model for me as I have grown as an artist. Now, if I could only play my guitar like that!
I hope you take the time to enjoy this live performance of Dave Beegle, The High Performance Dance Theatre and myself at The Fort Collins Lincoln Center. We are performing the song written in Dave’s basement studio, Whisper Your Name, as the dancers float in and out of the lyrics. I’m telling you, this girl is blessed folks!
I am very excited to announce the launching of the new Carol Frazier website this September! I have been very blessed to be surrounded by the creative teams of Far From Earth Creative and A- Train Marketing to define, manage and build the new brand and logo. Packaging a creative soul like myself was not an easy task! I love the hummingbird, as it represents singing lightly with joy.
As I return to my passion of music after a five year hiatus, I found the business of music had changed. For example, most artists have YouTube channels now, with live video footage of their shows. As we searched through boxes of reviews and dusting off old photos, I found that I only had live footage of two shows! Amazing in this age of iPhones and HD cameras that we have today. I know … I am not THAT old!
The great news is that the music has not changed, and the musicians working within the Carol Frazier team are some of the best musicians in the country. I continue to be blessed by the talents of artists, producers, photographers, and extremely talented artisans. As we release the new website, I am recording new material, re-recording old material, building music videos, and having more fun than ever! The live shows will start in October and I will keep all updates on the calendar.
Within the new website, you will also find my creative coaching page, a place of giving back the joy of healing through the creative process, whether it is a voice lesson, workshop and retreat. Stay tuned for workshops and retreats coming to your area in 2014.
Thanks to everyone who followed, and returned to the Carol Frazier team to bring you great music, creative journeys and a place to discover other creative souls like yourself!
WHO AM I ? Can you recall the the little bird in the book, “ Are you my Mother?, by P.D. Eastman? Have you ever felt lost or confused in your identity of self? Life gives us change, and with change the challenge to know ourselves in a deeper way through our transitions. I have always identified my professional career in music as Carol Frazier. I introduce myself as Carol Harrison, then explain that my stage name is Carol Frazier. If I feel on the ornery side, I might elaborate on the fact that I was born on the cusp of Cancer and Leo, and with my multiple personality marketing issues, I have too many email addresses, and would they like to hire my band , The Carol Frazier Band, or Carol Harrison to open for the next Sting concert? Just like the baby bird in the book by Eastman, I am running around looking for my identity, going to my web developers, logo designers, friends, family, children, and yes, even my dog. Of course, when asked, everyone has an opinion. Why do I keep searching for myself in others? Who do I become after all of these years of being both, and all? I have been singer, songwriter, mother, grandmother, wife, wife ( yes twice ) daughter, business owner, creative coach, traveler, athlete and happy dog lover. What do I call myself? Who am I? Have you ever come across this challenge of a name change, identity change, location change, or life change? Are you looking for answers in others opinions? I found that the only way I could get to my personal answers was to turn off the advice, sit quiet and listen. I honestly have to go away from the noise and create a safe place to hear myself. I find that most of the noise is internal, from myself. My vacation includes taking a vacation from my self chatter of right or left, black and white. I just BE with myself and my higher power, my source. I create time to listen, write, and absorb. Answers always come in the quiet place. A quiet place can be on your yoga mat in the morning, or over coffee with your journal. Walking, running or being still with your breath going in and out is a great place to find yourself if you are lost. It starts with breathing, listening, and trusting yourself and your Higher Power. For me, it came in embracing all that I am and celebrating the expansion of my personal and business “self”. Like baby bird, you will find yourself, you will find your home. In the moment, Carol Frazier Harrison “ Answers always come in the quiet place.” ~ Carol Frazier Harrison
March 8, 2013, is the official start day of the production of my new CD. Taylor Mesple', my trusted friend and past producer will be acting as my Executive Producer to keep me focused and in budget! Music collaborations will take place with several other producers stepping in with their touch of genius as well. I am also excited to announce that I am finally, yes, finally, dusting off my protools ( in the box ) and building myself a pre-production studio in my guest cottage. Sorry guests, you have to move out so the musicians can move in. Special thanks go out to Kashan Curry, songwriter, vocalist, producer and engineer for all of his very patient help with my set-up. So, as the money keeps pouring out, I am excited to announce the creativity keeps pouring in! I love the law of attraction. As Kashan puts it, " Think it, and Ink it, and it will come to pass." Wise friends surround me and grace my life with their talents. I am looking forward to when the final product is able to grace others. In the meantime, the journey is where the joy is!"
I am in the process of launching my new business COMPOSE YOURSELF. I have coached vocal performance for over 20 years, and decided to expand my knowledge and service to Kaizen Muse Creative Coaching. What is that? Kaizen stands for small steps. Muse is for the creator in each of us. Creative is for creating your own reality and reaching intentions and goals, and Coach is my honor to witness others journey into a life full of creating what they desire. Here is the trick, I get to Compose Myself first as a coach. Today, I am learning to allow my creator to breath life, contentment and genuine peace into my core being. As artists, and creative types, it is easy to become "The Performer" and give people what we think they want. Confusing, isn't it? Real peace, comes from allowing trust in a higher power to take care of the big picture, and my little details. It's all in the flow .... getting in the river and letting it take me to the ocean. I love the lyrics written by Taylor Mesple' on the song One Word. You can hear the song here, or on his website. It all comes down to just one word. Ciao' Carol