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  • Jonathan Widran

ERIC FRAZIER, That Place featuring "Return of the Panther Woman"

Conga player, infectious talk-sing vocalist/storyteller and versatile percussionist Eric Fraizer’s led a fascinating double live, complementing his three decades as a public school principal and administrator with a thriving, multi-faceted career as a recording artist and musician who’s performed with everyone from Pharoah Sanders and Jack McDuff to Dr. Lonnie Smith and Jimmy McGriff.

While, true to its title That Place featuring “Return of the Panther Woman,” Frazier’s latest album begins with the clever, funky and swinging character tune “The Panther Woman,” the majority of the 12 highly engaging tracks are funkier, more percussive and more fully produced versions of the excellent songs on the artist’s 2016 album In the Same Place.

The most enjoyable of these are the spirited, gospel-blues tinged jam “Fresh Money,” the whimsical, strutting singalong “Chili Pepper,” the lively, jazzy and fast swinging “Bean Song” and call and response romp “Fu Man Shu.” In essence, the album shows a splendid creative evolution from “the same place” to “that place.” The deeper joys of this quirky set come from “Mucho Caliente” and “Mi Corazon,” fast burning, high octane, seven plus minute Latin blasts featuring the brilliant, adventurous excursions of pianist Benito Gonzales interacting dynamically with Frazier’s ample arsenal of exotic percussion instruments.


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