By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The life and times of George Frazier

George Frazier, the legendary columnist for the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, was a little before my time. My sole memory of him was watching him do commentaries on one of the Boston television stations when I was in high school. But I certainly know of him, and the main reason I do is because of my Northeastern colleague Charles Fountain, the author of “Another Man’s Poison,” Fountain’s biography of Frazier.

Fountain had a splendid tribute to Frazier in Sunday’s Boston Globe on the occasion of what would have been his 100th birthday, writing:

Immortality in a business as ephemeral as daily journalism is nigh-on impossible, but every city has a newspaper guy who will be forever identified with that city. H.L. Mencken in Baltimore, Jimmy Breslin in New York, Mike Royko in Chicago, Herb Caen in San Francisco. Frazier, born in Southie 100 years ago last week, is that guy for Boston.

The column was accompanied by some choice Frazier excerpts. The Globe’s Mark Feeney wrote a nice tribute to Frazier as well.

And isn’t it time someone published a Frazier anthology? Given his wide range — newspaper columns, magazine pieces, jazz criticism for the likes of Down Beat, liner notes — there’s little doubt that it would stand up among the best writing produced in Boston.


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  1. Hear, hear!

    Thanks, Dan.

    ~Chris Daly

  2. Ray Richard Jr.

    Raised in a Boston newspaperman’s family, we heard plenty about George Frazier. My father would fold the paper into a small square and pass it around while telling everyone: “Damn, that Frazier can write.”

    Long after Frazier died, I found liner notes on an old LP written by him. I told my father and he quickly drove 25 miles to read a 500 word summary of a jazz recording;a Frazier piece that he hadn’t read before.

  3. BJ Roche

    My mom used to wait on him at Maddy’s! Brought home his autograph on a cocktail napkin. Big fan.

  4. Tony Davis

    Just for the record, copies of Mr. Fountain’s Frazier biography on Amazon START at $49.95.

    Too bad because I’d love to read more about or by Frazier but that’s a little pricey for me right now. My parents were huge jazz fans and his name was on more than one album cover, so I’ve always been curious about him and I was gratified to see him commemorated.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Tony: Sounds like it’s time for a reissue!

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