Douglas Fraser covers the 1840s through 1930s in four performances at the Fort Langley Jazz Festival
There could easily be a movie made about 70-year-old Walnut Grove musician Douglas Fraser, his path crossed with seemingly endless amounts of performing arts icons. Instead of the silver screen, the musicologist is bringing his life’s work to the stage at the Fort Langley Jazz Festival.
“I grew up on the road going from stage to stage, standing in the wings,” Fraser recounted.
Parties with celebrities likes Orson Welles and Bing Crosby seemed like an average evening in his younger days.
“I studied my whole life right from the horses mouth. I would overhear a stories and pay my sister to write it all down.”
The performing arts has always been in Fraser’s blood – his father was a Ringling Brothers Circus member, and later, vaudevillian performer with partner Danny Thomas. Fraser’s mother performed on the Shubert and Albee Circuits in vaudeville, and his maternal grandmother toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.
Originally born in Ontario, Douglas primarily worked is the United States and was part of the jug band resurgence in the 1960s – later playing jazz in concert coast to coast.
He toured with acts including Blood, Sweat and Tears, Brian Adams and Sweeney Todd, Boz Scaggs, George Carlin, Donna Summers, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Buddy Rich.
“When I’m not doing this, I’m the opening act for The Kingston Trio,” Fraser explained. “They were the ones who knocked Elvis from the top spot on the charts and remained there until they were ousted by The Beatles.”
The “this” Fraser referred to is “touring internationally to provoke interest and history of North America’s past.”
Equipped with a banjo, a guitar, and his own voice, Fraser paints a picture of the burgeoning entertainment scene between the 1840s to 1930s through four specially designed performances.
“What I do is explain history and perform songs. I have never crossed paths with anyone who does the same thing,” Fraser said. “Ragtime players are all dead. You’ll never again find people who know songs from the 1800s.”
Read full article here.
Article originally published in Langley Advanced Times