While not the best-known trombonist from the early days of jazz, Jake Frazier does have a song named after him. "Jake's Weary Blues," the only recording to be digested under Frazier's name in a discography stuffed fat with sideman credits, was cut with pianist and bandleader Elmer Snowden in the mid-'20s. Although publishing credits for this song go to Frazier and the pianist and arranger Louis Hooper, Snowden indicated in interviews that the idea for the piece came from producer Joe Davis, a relentless experimenter with instrumental combinations who apparently decided the time was right to feature Frazier in an intimate setting, a time that seems to have never come again.
The trombonist's span of recording activity took place in a period of about six years beginning in 1921. By the time it was over he had shown up on some 50 recording sessions, this stack of original sides spawning a continually growing collection of reissues. Frazier worked often with Snowden and often provides horn obligatti on recordings by classic blues singers such as Viola McCoy, Mamie Smith, and Rosa Henderson. He tends to be singled out more for his work as an accompanist than as a soloist, for example the vamp he plays behind cornet and clarinet solos on the Kansas City Five's wonderfully titled "Get Yourself a Monkey Man and Make Him Strut His Stuff."
by Eugene Chadbourne