With the passing of guitarist Garrison Fewell
in the summer of 2015, the jazz world lost an educator, author and an extraordinary talent. Now that we can no longer exchange emails, or receive a music lesson from him, we still can explore his thoughts, via a fascinating book Outside Music, Inside Voices
(Saturn University Press, 2014), which explored the link between creative improvised music and spirituality through interviews with musicians.
Of course, the best way to know him is through his music. On Flawless Dust
he teams up with soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo, the best saxophonist you might never have heard. Unless, of course, you live in Italy. Quietly, he has created musical relationships with an international cast of artists such as John Russell, Gino Robair, Xabier Iriondo, Peter Brötzmann, Enzo Rocco, Stefano Pastor, Daniel Levin, and Francesco Cusa, to name just a few. Plus, Mimmo run his own Amirani Records.
This encounter came about from an email exchange between the two artists, and since Fewell had fallen in love with Italy, this date was almost inevitable.
The nine titles presented here, plus one hidden "Ghost Track," are spontaneous compositions. All except "A Floating Caravan" are brief, succinct affairs. "A Floating Caravan" clocks in at nearly 14 minutes and finds Fewell ringing small bells, shakers and applying tapping gestures to his guitar to add propulsion to the piece. Mimmo's extended technique includes overblown multi-phonic tones that spread a pastural landscape to the music.
In other places the music is a kind of softer, gentler take on the music of Derek Bailey
and Steve Lacy
. Reason being, is there is less tension here than on a Bailey or Lacy recording. Fewell draws equally from the guitar tradition of Jim Hall
as from avant-world. In other words, he is a perfect companion. When he strums gentle notes on "Other Song," Mimmo obliges with the simplest melody. When the internal mechanism is wound tight around "News From Beyond," the pair chase circles within circles of a dog in pursuit of his tail.
The saxophonist's command of his soprano, perhaps the most difficult saxophone to master, is impressive. His tone is luscious, even when extended techniques are applied, as on "Other Chat;" where one might expect harsh, he delivers a benevolent sound. What a fine tribute to two gentlemen.
Flawless Dust; Song; Coherent; News From Beyond; Struggente; Other Song; A
Floating Caravan; Other Chat; Grainy Fabric; Ghost Song.
Garrison Fewell: electric guitar, percussion; Gianni Mimmo: soprano saxophone.