Trumpet/Flugel player, composer & arranger Duncan Fraser is one of the UK’s leading young professional musicians. Having graduated on a music scholarship from Exeter University, Duncan is now based on London’s doorstep in St Albans, Hertfordshire and in demand as a session musician on gigs and recordings all over the UK & Europe and can be heard on recordings and TV commercials all over the World.
As a freelance Trumpet and Flugelhorn player, Duncan is regularly in demand to play on CD Recordings, TV adverts, TV shows, Musicals and tours all over the UK & Europe. Being able to play powerful lead Trumpet lines as well as improvise in a Jazz context has allowed Duncan to record and play at some of the UK’s most famous and prestigious venues and studios. Duncan’s versatility on the Trumpet has seen him perform with many Pop, Rock & Indie bands, Hip-Hop and Dance producers, Jazz ensembles, Classical and Experimental Orchestras as well as Shows, Musicals & TV commercials. Duncan is a regular deputy for many of the UK’s finest function bands spanning across all genres, from Big Bands and 1950’s tributes to Motown, Soul and modern day pop acts.
As well as carving a career as a session musician, Duncan released his first Jazz album with his own Big Band in 2012, which was nominated the best Jazz act of 2011 at the South West Music Awards. The Duncan Fraser Big Band is an award winning 16 piece ensemble that has been in existence since late 2010 and were voted the best Jazz act of 2011 at the South West Music Awards. The band performs a repertoire of Jazz by composed, transcribed and arranged by Duncan Fraser and draws heavily on the influence and repertoire of the great Kenny Wheeler. In the instrumentation and the writing Duncan has veered away from the standard big band set up, as the band contains 4 Saxes, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Guitar, Piano, Double Bass, Drums, Duncan on Flugelhorn and most notably using Voice as an instrumental part; the contemporary sound created is vibrant, powerful and original. The Band features some of the most talented young jazz musicians in the UK, making this ensemble one of the few professional working groups with this twist. There are influences of Kenny Wheeler in the writing, though the songs clearly have a sound that is very much their own. The works range from fully scored Big Band soli sections to completely free improvisation sections. In Late December 2011 the band recorded it’s debut album (“Dealing In Wheeler”) with Esteem Records at Smokehouse Studios in London, which features 7 original compositions by Duncan. The Album was released at a fantastic launch party at the Spice of Life Jazz club in Soho, London. Since releasing ‘Dealing In Wheeler’ the Duncan Fraser Big Band has been active on the London Jazz circuit and has performed at many of London’s top Jazz clubs. In 2012 Duncan premiered a new work for Big Band, his ‘Yuletide Suite’. This is a collection of 8 Traditional Christmas Carols re-worked for the contemporary Big Band. The band has performed this suite for the past two Christmases at the Spice of Life Jazz club, and it has been an incredible success. It is Duncan’s ambition to gain funding to record this work in time for release in December 2015.
As an Arranger & Orchestrator Duncan has worked with clients all over the world. He works with all sizes of ensembles in all genres, but specialises in writing for large Jazz ensembles, pop groups, horn sections and musical theatre. He has had arrangements performed at some of the UK’s largest concert venues including at the MFY Primary Proms & Herts Music Service Gala Concerts both at Royal Albert Hall. As a Jazz Arranger his own large ensemble, the Duncan Fraser Big Band, was awarded the best Jazz Act (2011) at the South West music awards.
Alongside his performance and writing work, Duncan is also heavily involved in Music Education. As a Jazz educator, Duncan works for the Hertfordshire Music Service as Musical Director of the St Albans Music School Big Bands 1 & 2 and as a Musical Director of the Hertfordshire Youth Jazz Ensemble. With these groups he has assisted in delivering Jazz workshops alongside the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and the National Youth Jazz Collective. He also works with slightly older students as the Musical Director of the University of Hertforshire Big Band. Duncan also offers private Brass tuition to students of all ages and abilities as well as running Jazz workshops and holiday courses.