He is a true giant of the instrument who accomplished so much at a young age, it’s remarkable to consider that after departing Free at the age of 21, he hardly played bass anymore save for a brief stint in a short-lived collective with Chris Spedding, and with various ensembles to support his sporadic solo work and other one-off projects.
This remarkably articulate and instantly identifiable bassist composed the seminal guitar anthem “All Right Now,” and penned hits for Robert Palmer (“Every Kind of People”), among others. Andy Fraser worked his Gibson EB-3 like Miles Davis played trumpet – every note had a purpose, and he possessed a signature sound that was both gritty and sweet – depending on the musical situation.
And akin to Davis, Fraser was an absolute master of rhythm and space – utilizing whole notes, quarter notes, and rests to their maximum effectiveness and drama. His influence on generations of bassists is incalculable. No matter how many bassists try to play like Andy, they’ll never approximate his unique phrasing and feel. Simply put – Andy Fraser was a musical force unto himself.
I interviewed Andy for his extraordinary solo album Naked and Finally Free (2005) – which I intend to republish. I was captivated with his humility and kindness. And his Free bandmate Simon Kirke shared stories of Andy with me which I hope to publish as well.