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Fraser Hollins
February 10, 2022Welcome to my website by Aestheticize MediaThank you for visiting my website. I am very happy to announce an upcoming tour with my band from my 2nd recording, Treehouse. The group features Joel Miller on tenor and soprano saxophones, Jon Cowherd on piano, and Brian Blade on drums. We’ll be playing tunes from our 2019 recording, some selections from Aerial, as well as a few new songs. Please consult the Calendar page for the details. You can also listen to the album on my Bandcamp page, to which a link can be found on the Discography page.

Fraser Hollins has been praised as "one of Canada's great bassists." Don Thompson - Canadian Jazz Multi-Instrumentalist. A priority in his artistic growth has been to develop versatility in many styles and idioms because of his sincere love for many musical cultures and genres. This has proven an invaluable quality for him as he has led an enriching musical life for the past 15 years in Montreal, and, for a few years, in New York City. His playing demonstrates "highly imaginative and creative spontaneous music making." Craig Hurst - Jazz Review.com. Fraser is an in-demand sideman, and his contribution as a rhythm section player is valued for the "strong foundation" he gives the music while at the same time providing "much more than the requisite maintenance of the beat." Joanne Villeneuve - The Brandon Sun.

He has performed around the world and appeared on over 30 recordings with bands featuring national and international artists. This list of musicians includes Steve Amirault, Jeff Johnston, Joel Miller, Jean-Christophe Béney, Christine Jensen, Rémi Bolduc, Josh Rager, Dave Turner, Don Thompson, Kelly Jefferson, Guido Basso, Kevin Hays, Ingrid Jensen, Brad Turner, Geoffrey Keezer, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder, Dave Liebman, Max Wild, Amanda Monaco, Donny McCaslin, Jon Cowherd, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone and Seamus Blake.

Music has taken Fraser to Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. These travels have been important to him as a performer and educator. The sharing of his musical knowledge is of vital importance to him, and he has participated in clinics across Canada, and internationally in England, Peru, Haiti and the United States. Since 2006, Fraser has been on staff at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, where he teaches bass privately and instructs ensembles.

Fraser's own musical education began at a young age. A native of Ottawa, Canada where he was born in 1970, he started playing violin and piano when he was seven years old. In high school, he picked up the bass guitar and performed in rock and jazz-fusion groups. In 1989 he made the switch to acoustic bass, after hearing the classic Miles Davis record "Kind of Blue". He began his post-secondary musical studies at Ottawa University (1990), and went on to hone his craft in Montreal at Concordia University (1991-1994).

In the early summer of 1999, Fraser participated in the Banff International Jazz Workshop. This was a life changing experience for him, not only because of the opportunity to learn from and play with the incredible faculty, which included Kenny Werner, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano and Dave Holland; it was also a fantastic place to meet musicians from all over the world, because of the program's international reputation. In particular, Fraser was marked by the energy and intensity of the musicians he encountered from the New York City area, and this fuelled a strong desire in him to spend some time there.

In November 1999, he moved to New York for 6 months to study with Gary Peacock and Marc Johnson thanks to a grant awarded him by the Canada Council. During this time, he would spend many of his days getting together with musicians all over the city, and the importance of original compositions during these sessions made a profound impact on him. He had written music since he was a teenager playing in rock bands, and he now felt a strong urge to delve more deeply into this universe. So, in the fall of 2000 he began developing his composition skills under the tutelage of Jim McNeely with the financial aid of the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec.

Still hungry to keep studying intensely, and wanting to spend more time in New York, Fraser began his Masters degree at the Manhattan School of Music in the fall of 2001, where he had the opportunity to study with Jay Anderson, Garry Dial, Dick Oatts, Mike Abene, Ludmila Ulehla and Dave Liebman. He profited from numerous playing opportunities at the school and in the jazz clubs around New York, and would occasionally tour in the US, Canada and Europe. He also wrote prolifically for a variety of ensembles, including small groups, big band, chamber ensembles and string quartet. He eventually plans to draw from these writing experiences to produce a program of original music featuring a large ensemble. His voice as a composer has been recognised by his peers, and Fraser had his composition "Halfway Home" recorded by Christine Jensen on her CD A Shorter Distance, and "Cornered Coach" on Josh Rager's Time and Again.

After graduating with his Masters Degree, Fraser stayed in New York until the fall of 2005, when he relocated back to Montreal. Since his return, he has written a book of original music for his quartet, and has started performing around town with this group. His band features Joel Miller on saxophones, Steve Amirault on piano, and Karl Jannuska or Martin Auguste on drums. He continues to perform and record regularly with some of Canada's finest jazz bands. These include Joel Miller's "Mandala", the Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra, the Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble, and the Jean-Christophe Béney Quartet. He enjoys a fulfilling teaching career at McGill University where he gives improvisation classes, private lessons and instructs ensembles. He released his first CD, entitled Aerial, in the fall of 2010, which features a collection of music that is largely influenced by his travels to South America, and his love of Nature. The band features Joel Miller on tenor and soprano saxophones, Steve Amirault on piano, and Karl Jannuska on drums.

In 2016, he recorded his 2nd album as a leader, entitled Treehouse. This CD reunites Fraser with long-time collaborator Joel Miller, again on tenor and soprano saxophones, with Jon Cowherd on piano, and Brian Blade on drums. The genesis of this group happened in June 2012, when the band performed at the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill in Montreal, as part of the club's jazz festival series.

A tour in the spring of 2022 is happening with Treehouse, with dates in Quebec and Ontario.

TreehouseFraser Hollins2019
AerialFraser Hollins2010
Lost in New YorkSuresh Singaratnam2010
Songs from Berlin to New York by Kurt WeillKerry Anne Kutz2009
FIrst StepsMin Rager2009
Time and AgainJosh Rager2008
TantramarJoel Miller2007
4 + 1Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble + Jerry Bergonzi2007
SoundclashErik Hove2007
Pop upJean-Christophe Béney2007
IntentionAmanda Monaco 42006
The Long ViewTom Van Seters2006
Look LeftChristine Jensen2006
Zambezi SunsetMax Wild2004
Sleight of HandSherisse Rogers Project Uprising2004
SextetJosh Rager2004
Liberating VinesKarl Jannuska2004
MandalaJoel Miller2004
You Still DoWillow2003
Amanda Monaco 4Amanda Monaco 42003
EvolutionBernard Primeau et le Montreal Jazz Ensemble2002
A Shorter DistanceChristine Jensen2002
DedicationsGuido Basso and Dave Turner2002
NarrativeTom Van Seters2001
Present TenseBryn Roberts2001
Un Souffle LatinBernard Primeau et le Montreal Jazz Ensemble2000
The Eagle Has Landed… Eh?Billy Kerr2000
Rendezvous PointSteve Amirault2000
CollageChristine Jensen2000
Midnight MartiniGuido Basso and Dave Turner1999
I'm All SmilesGeorge Evans1999
Since I Fell for YouThe Tone Poets1998
Listen to your HeartSharada Banman1998
Time and AgainJosh Rager2008
Johanne Desforges and her TrioJohanne Desforges2007
Samba D'AthenaDave Turner Latin Sextet1998


Bassist Fraser Hollins, whose big sound adds depth and breadth to a variety of local jazz ensembles, has finally come out with a CD of his own compositions, and it is a delight. The 11 pieces are mainly mid-tempo ballads with evocative and occasionally lofty themes, developed in a quartet of long-standing friends and musical cohorts, saxophonist Joel Miller and pianist Steve Amirault, with former Montreal resident Karl Jannuska on drums. It kicks off with the plaintive Crux, drawn with arco lines, and moves to the thought-provoking ballads Lost in the Maze and Currents, featuring Miller's muscular tenor and fluid ideas and the rich lyricism of pianist Amirault. Ending with the harder-edged Song for the Underdog and the positive notes of All's Well, the CD is a tribute to Hollins's talent as a composer and emerging leader.

Podworthy: Song for the UnderdogIrwin BlockMontreal Gazette
For years, Ottawa-raised, Montreal-based bassist Fraser Hollins has been girded the music of two of Canada's best jazz composers -- Christine Jensen and Joel Miller. Aerial suggests to me that not a little of their depth, sophistication and contemporary lyricism have rubbed off on Hollins.

Hollins' disc, which features Miller on tenor and soprano saxophones, pianist Steve Amirault and drummer Karl Jannuska, is continually captivating. The compositions are not... easily categorized or parsed...- I find them... intriguing, extended and complex, and I mean that in a good way. They are certainly not overly complicated, and in any event, focused playing and a strong sense of purpose make them must-hears.

Rich and rewarding are Currents, a theme that for me evokes a feeling of wide-open space, and Way of the Condor, which blends a slow Latin theme and a gospel-tinged extended coda. Song for the Underdog begins strong with Hollins and Jannuska having a loud conversation, and it stays strong as a brisk, hardy swinger. All's Well ends the disc simply but powerfully, stressing soulfulness and groove above all.

Throughout, Miller speaks expressively through his horns with a warm, woody, pliant sound and a committed, cliche-free approach to melody. Similarly, Amirault consistently puts conveying emotion and beauty ahead of displaying chops and hipness.

With every note, Hollins is a commanding voice on his instrument -- or more precisely, instruments. On several tracks, Hollins overdubs a bit of electric bass to add another colour to the music, emulating John Patitucci, with whom he has studied. Also like Patitucci, Hollins has a lovely sound when he plays arco. Hollins' bowed bass is the star of the short disc's first track, Crux, and it again dazzles on the companion piece Alpha Crusis and most of all on the lovely ballad Vyana.

Hollins debut as a leader is so satisfying that it makes me think that he has waited an awfully long time to present his most personal vision of jazz. It's a mature and compelling one, and it deserves the attention in particular of music lovers keen to know just where their Canadian jazz is at. Aerial will likely make such listeners clamour for me, and let's hope that a sequel to the disc is not long in coming.Peter HumOttawa Citizen
Man--what a beautiful CD---wish i were the sax player--the tunes,. the mix, the sequence of tunes, the package--

one of the best I've heard in a long time
Dave LiebmanDave Liebman


Sur la scène de jazz québécoise et canadienne, nous trouvons en tête de peloton le contrebassiste Fraser Hollins. Pour nous faire oublier un peu l’hiver et des tracas, il nous a concocté Treehouse, une nouveauté dont l’inspiration se trouve dans les arbres, et plus précisément dans une jolie petite maison tout en bois, celle dont nous rêvions dans notre enfance.

Entourée d’une joyeuse équipe composée du saxophoniste ténor/soprano Joel Miller, du pianiste John Cowherd et surprise, du batteur américain Brian Blade, son ode à la note bleue est tout ce qu’il de plus dynamique . En neuf plages et là encore, que des compositions personnelles, dommage pour les standards, nous évoluons dans un monde qui respire le métier et le savoir-faire.

Dès la première pièce Prowl, qui met en vedette le saxophoniste ténor Joel Miller, l’hommage au maître qu’est Sonny Rollins se fait
sentir, tandis que Ground Sea, qui se dessine comme une superbe ballade est un écrin royal pour le pianiste John Cowherd. Avec High Wire, nous revisitons l’époque Blue Note des années 60, parfois feutrée, parfois swing et en arrière-plan Miller une fois de plus, évoque l’empreinte de John Coltrane.

Et Fraser Hollins, le patron des lieux, comment mène-t-il sa barque ? Avec beaucoup de justesse, laissant parfois cours à son inspiration, mais surtout en respectant l’unité de son quartette et laissant donc « pas mal de corde » à ses complices. Mais oui, c’est un beau disque, classique dans le ton et la forme, mais qui se plaindra ?…certainement pas votre chroniqueur.Christophe RodriguezSorties Jazz Nights
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Upcoming Performances

Friday, July 15, 2022Carlos Jiménez Don't Fall QuintetDièse Onze Montreal, QCCarlos Jiménez: Guitar
Alexandre Coté: Alto and Tenor Saxophones
Pierre François: Piano
Fraser Hollins: Bass
Rich Irwin: Drums
more info...
view map
Saturday, July 23, 2022Fraser Hollins and The PhoenixSutton Jazz FestivalSutton, QCSamuel Blais: Alto and Baritone Saxophones, Clarinet
Carlos Jiménez: Guitar
Fraser Hollins: Acoustic and Electric Basses
Michel Lambert: Drums
more info...
Thursday, August 04, 2022Carlos Jiménez Don't Fall QuintetFestiJazz Mont-TremblantMont-Tremblant, QCCarlos Jiménez: Guitar
Alexandre Coté: Alto and Tenor Saxophones
Pierre François: Piano
Fraser Hollins: Bass
Rich Irwin: Drums
more info...
Sunday, August 07, 2022Fraser Hollins and The PhoenixFestiJazz Mont-TremblantMont-Tremblant, QCSamuel Blais: Alto and Baritone Saxophones, Clarinet
Carlos Jiménez: Guitar
Fraser Hollins: Acoustic and Electric Basses
Michel Lambert: Drums
more info...

Past Performances

Thursday, June 23, 2022Federico Milone Quartet, featuring John Roney and Ben RileyDièse OnzeMontreal, QCFederico Milone: Saxophones
John Roney: Piano
Fraser Hollins: Bass
Ben Riley: Drums
more info...
Monday, June 13, 2022Camp Musical Val Des SourcesVal des Sources, QCClinic, Combo instruction, and performance with the faculty
Thursday, June 09, 2022Alex Johnson Trio, with Sam KirmeyerLa Petite MarcheMontreal, QC
Friday, May 13, 2022Yoel Diaz Mundo Jazz QuartetDièse Onze Jazz ClubMontreal, QCYoel Diaz: Piano, composer
Mathieu Gaulin: Alto and soprano saxophones
Fraser Hollins: Double bass
Hanser Santos: Cajón
more info...
Sunday, April 03, 2022Kerry=Anne Kutz, with Michael Cartile, and Chad LinsleySt-Thomas Aquinas ParisjHudson, QCmore info...
Sunday, March 20, 2022Fraser Hollins and Treehouse The Jazz Bistro Toronto, Ontario Sets at 6pm and 9pmmore info...
Saturday, March 19, 2022Fraser Hollins & TreehouseThe Jazz RoomWaterloo, ONFraser Hollins: Acoustic and electric basses
Joel Miller: Tenor and Soprano saxophones
Jon Cowherd: Piano
Brian Blade: Drums
Friday, March 18, 2022Fraser Hollins & TreehouseUpstairs Jazz Bar & GrillMontreal, QCFraser Hollins: Acoustic and electric basses
Joel Miller: Tenor and Soprano saxophones
Jon Cowherd: Piano
Brian Blade: Drums
Thursday, March 17, 2022Fraser Hollins & TreehouseUpstairs Jazz Bar & GrillMontreal, QCFraser Hollins: Acoustic and electric basses
Joel Miller: Tenor and Soprano saxophones
Jon Cowherd: Piano
Brian Blade: Drums
Thursday, March 17, 2022ClinicUniversité de MontréalMontreal, Quebec
Wednesday, March 16, 2022ClinicBishop's University
Tuesday, March 15, 2022PerformanceCentennial Hall, Bishop's UniversityLennoxville, QC
Monday, March 14, 2022Fraser Hollins & TreehouseNAC Fourth StageOttawa, ONFraser Hollins: Acoustic and electric basses
Joel Miller: Tenor and Soprano saxophones
Jon Cowherd: Piano
Brian Blade: Drums
more info...
Thursday, March 03, 2022Tevet Sela Quartet featuring John Roney and Ben RileyDièse Onze
For booking and all other inquires, contact Fraser Hollins at:

Fraser's Albums

Treehouse recording session

Fraser Hollins Prowl V1 - YouTube
This is the 1st track on my 2nd album, entitled "Treehouse". The tune is called "Prowl". The band features Joel Miller on tenor saxophone, Jon Cowherd on pia...
Fraser Hollins Blaze - YouTube
This is the 2nd track from my 2nd album, entitled "Treehouse". The tune is called "Blaze", and is dedicated to my dear friend, the great saxophonist and comp...