Standing in the shadows of a famous parent is not an easy road to travel, especially when an individual has a true measure of talent they can truly claim as their own. Being gauged by the accomplishments of a family member is not the desire of most entertainers, but it does happen from time to time. In the case of Frayne Lewis, establishing himself as a gifted musician with a proven track-record has been a monumental odyssey filled with highs.
Bass guitarist Frayne Lewis is the son of legendary pianist Ramsey Lewis, one of the most respected musicians in jazz today. For Frayne, the journey to the release of his self-titled debut album is the product of doing everything correctly to get from Point "A" to "B". Following in the footsteps of his famous father, Frayne spent his formative years playing in and around the City of Chicago. His desire to play the bass began as a teenager, which then led to the formation of a jazz trio with his brother Bobby and keyboardist Kevin Randolph. Together they played the club scene in their home city with a high degree of acclaim. Frayne also played a major role in the production of his dad's 1992 and 1995 releases 'Ivory Pyramid' and 'Between The Keys.' Other projects included collaboration with Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire, producing tracks for the Urban Knights franchises. With so many successes under his belt, the natural order of things to come was the release of 'Frayne' on the OmTown/Higher Octave Record Label.
Although jazz has been the basic framework for which Frayne has been operating during his career, he travels down a different path for his solo debut. Operating under the premise of jazz, Lewis ideally structures 15 tracks of R&B/hip-hop laced compositions. For many who anticipated this release, there was an assumption that Frayne would record a jazz album. Instead of doing the expected, he chose to establish an identity of a different sort. First of all, the entire CD is filled with covers and original material written by Frayne and other members of the band. From the onset, the desire was to do something distinctively different from anything they had done in the past. They would also establish a formula set by the group. There are rhythmic offerings that make listeners want to holler and throw up both their hands, as well as augmented renditions of R&B based tracks that hone in on the soulful side of things. Through it all, Frayne Lewis and his band of merry men have reached a pinnacle of success unprecedented by most standards, especially when the leader is the son of a famous father.
The majority of the tracks on 'Frayne' are vocal influenced; however, at various times the sheer essence of Lewis' bass antics shine through. At each and every juncture, Frayne stays the course without compromising the band's original intent, having fun doing what has been waiting to happen for quite some time. In separating himself from the shadows of Ramsey Lewis, the naysayers thought this album would be an accident waiting to happen. But this release is a boon to curators of R&B, jazz and the hip-hop generation, as it commands attention on all three levels. For Frayne Lewis, having a famous father as an influence sets a standard for one of the freshest recordings to date. What comes next from this phenomenal musician continues to be a formula that has been established by the foundations of everything preceding him.