Article Review

Hugh Fraser Canadian Dedication

Influential big band.

Two albums by the late Vancouver jazz icon Hugh Fraser (1958-2020) released to Bandcamp on October 1, 2021. This one, Canadian Dedication, features Hugh Fraser and the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation (VEJI, pronounced like veggie).

Find the other one, Gastown Chronicles, here.

Listen to Canadian Dedication by Hugh Fraser & VEJI

CBC recorded the album at the Cultch in 2005.

I saw when writing that my friend Dean Thiessen had bought the Hugh Fraser Canadian Dedication album on Bandcamp.

I asked him about it, loved what he wrote in response, and asked to quote him here.

“I’ve only listened through half of it. It’s like a huge turkey dinner that you need a break to let the deliciousness settle,” Thiessen said.

“It has Hugh’s wit and comedy and it sounds like a composer who trusts his band with everything. Like a professional driver in F1 or a cowboy on a bull: so much power and motion but just complete control.”

-Dean Thiessen

Then he linked this video:

He continues:

“There are quite a few videos of VEJI on YouTube and this band looks like a big family. And it sounds like a family. All our profs are in this band and it just shows how huge of an influence Hugh was in the Vancouver and Canadian jazz scene.”

-Dean Thiessen

The song from this video, “Thank You Very Much” is the closing track on this album. Both in the video and on the album, Christine Duncan sings the vocalese-style melody.

The instrumentalists featured through the album are the musicians from Gastown Chronicles Campbell Ryga, Ken Lister, and Dave Robbins; plus Ross Taggart, Perry White, Bill Runge, Walter White, Vince Mai, Bill Clark, Lorae Farrell, Dennis Esson, Rod Murray, Brad Muirhead and Jack Duncan.

Go listen!

By Will Chernoff

William Ross Chernoff—known as Will to friends and colleagues—is a jazz musician, podcaster, YouTuber, and writer. He records and performs under his own name, William Chernoff.