Interview with Jordan Frazier
Principal Bass with the Grammy-award winning, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Westchester Philharmonic, and the Bard Festival.
Never mind its size, the bass has taken Jordan Frazier on a larger-than-life journey—from one of the most sacred places in Japan to Metallica (yes, the metal band!) and beyond.
It takes a rare breed willing to contend with the colossal proportions of the bass. But Orpheus Chamber Orchestra principal bassist Jordan Frazier was clearly up for the challenge when, on a whim, he signed up for the instrument at his Cleveland middle school—they needed bass players, after all.
Fast forward a few years, and he was honing his love of music and, yes, the bass at the Interlochen Arts Academy before heading to college at the Manhattan School of Music—inspired, as it were, by a jazz player from Manhattan that he had befriended at Interlochen.
Whim served Jordan well once again when he tried out for the L’Orchestra Ciudad de Barcelona while in New York. He thought he was auditioning to gain “experience;” little did he know, he would win the audition and move to Spain having barely unpacked his bags in the Big Apple.
Naturally, the music-fueled adventures only continued after that.
We recently spoke with the busy bassist who’s getting ready for a couple of Orpheus performances including one at Carnegie Hall on March 18 that Coregami is coincidentally outfitting. And, yes, as whim would have it, Jordan found Coregami quite by chance, too.
How do you get ready for the big show?
Jordan: Performances are very rewarding but they can really be taxing, both mentally and physically. So, I try to get a lot of sleep, eat a good meal before a show, and stretch. Stretching helps a lot. Speaking of, I’m starting to realize that I really should be doing some yoga.
"You may be talented, but it takes more than talent; we can’t be passive. "
What advice would you give to young musicians?
Jordan: The younger generation is so entrepreneurial, it blows me away; they are finding their own style and own niches in the music community. My generation relied on tradition with the more standard orchestra route, but no longer does just playing classical music really cut it. So, I would tell young musicians to keep having an open mind and stylistically exploring new areas of music. Also, an early mentor once told me ‘don’t rest on your laurels.’ And, that’s something I’ve always remembered. You may be talented, but it takes more than talent; we can’t be passive.
Your wife is a bassoonist? What about your two boys? Are they into music?
Jordan: Our boys (ages 14 and 10) both play the piano, but they have no pressure from us to be in the music profession.
Who has been most influential in your music career?
Jordan: My grandfather, who was a flutist in Cleveland, was an early influence growing up. Through him, I realized what it was like playing in an orchestra and also that music could be a profession.
What do you always travel with when performing?
Jordan: As little as possible! I try to under-pack because traveling with the bass is just insane as it is.
Most memorable show or moment?
Jordan: Well, I’m fortunate that there have been a number of moments that have really been so special. Performing at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona in 1992—both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies—was just surreal. Also, the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is known as one of the most sacred places in Japan, so it was quite an experience to play there. I would also have to put Metallica on the memorable list. I played with them in Madison Square Garden—it was unusual, but so cool.
How did you find out about Coregami?
Jordan: My travel schedule with the Orpheus Chamber is actually what prompted me to try Coregami. We always seem to go to Japan in June—the hottest, most humid season of all—and those concert halls aren’t typically air-conditioned. And, of course, our uniforms are a black suit with a black button-down. I had happened across an article about the Gershwin tuxedo shirt, and I immediately fired off an email to Coregami. I thought ‘I have to have this shirt—but in black!’
What’s your favorite quality about the Coregami shirt?
Jordan: Well, I’ve been wearing the prototype for Coregami’s black dress shirt for awhile now, and it’s so great. And, it cannot be beat when it comes to traveling. When we’re on tour, we sometimes have 10 or 12 concerts to play. It’s nearly impossible to bring enough shirts—especially when it’s hot in the summertime! That’s where Coregami is so valuable; the material doesn’t stain and it’s so easy to wash and wear multiple times.
What’s up next for you?
Jordan: We have the Orpheus tour in New York City in March. In July, I’m headed to the Carmel Bach Festival and then come August, I’m back in New York at the Bard Music Festival. Last year, we did a lot of touring—both Japan and Australia—so I’m rather glad to be at home a bit more this year and not traveling quite so much.
"I try to get a lot of sleep, eat a good meal before a show, and stretch."