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Garrison Fewell

"The guitarist formerly known as one of Boston's most eloquent inside players has become one of its leading experimenters," writes Boston Phoenix's Jon Garelick, who included Fewell's ensemble, the Variable Density Sound Orchestra, on his best of 2009 list. Fewell, a professor at Berklee College since 1977, has toured the globe for more than 35 years as one of the jazz world's premier performer/educators. He has released 13 recordings for Soul Note, Koch, Splasc(H), Boxholder, Accurate, Nubop and CNM Records. For the past decade, he has collaborated with such renowned avant-garde musicians as John Tchicai, Steve Swell, Roy Campbell, Khan Jamal, Borah Bergman and Curtis Clark. The Variable Density Sound Orchestra, founded in 2008, released three recordings on Creative Nation Music, and balances both aspects of Fewell's musical personality by showcasing the melodic accessibility and sturdy framework of his compositions as well as the unbridled freedom of free improvisation.

A renowned jazz educator Fewell has taught at European Conservatories including Rotterdam, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Graz, Cologne, Leipzig, Warsaw, Krakow, the American School of Modern Music in Paris, and at McGill and Laval University in Canada, and conducted workshops for the International Association of Jazz Educators in New York City, Toronto, and the Montreux Jazz Festival. He taught at the Polish Jazz Society Summer Workshops, the New School (NY) at Veneto Jazz, Italy, and is the ear training and guitar instructor for Global Music Foundation at seminars across Europe.

Critics have called him "one of today’s most personal guitar players" (Boston Phoenix), "an assured stylist with a strong sense of tradition" (The New Yorker), "a player of virtuosity and swinging intensity" (UPI), and "refined, passionate, and inspiring" (Guitar Player). His diverse discography, beginning with 1993 Boston Music Award-winning “A Blue Deeper Than the Blue” (Accurate), counts multiple titles ranked on best of the year lists in publications such as Coda, Guitar Player, Musica Jazz, AllAboutJazz, The Wire, and his hometown Philadelphia Inquirer.

Fewell has performed and recorded with his quartet at NYC's Blue Note and Birdland Jazz Clubs, and performed at international festivals such as Montreux, North Sea, Umbria, Clusone, Veneto Jazz, Copenhagen, Krakow, Budapest, and Cape Verde, Africa. His experience includes concert tours with Tal Farlow, Benny Golson, Fred Hersch, Herbie Hancock, George Cables, Don Friedman, Jim McNeely, Hal Galper, Larry Coryell, Buster Williams, Cecil McBee, Cameron Brown, Steve LaSpina, Billy Hart, Kenny Wheeler, Tim Hagans, Dusko Goykovich, Cecil Bridgewater, Billy Harper, John Tchicai, Steve Swell, Roy Campbell, Jr., Khan Jamal, Norma Winstone, and Slide Hampton.

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Reviews of Garrison's recordings have been published in a variety of international jazz magazines:

"His beautiful tone and effortless, fluid lines draw the listener in as only a select few have done...a fine guitarist who appeals on the sublime, emotional level of a Bill Evans or a Jim Hall." -James Rozzi, Wired

"His active imagination is restless; his musical intelligence is acute; his standards are high."-Thomas Conrad, DownBeat

"Continually surprising change-ups in phrasing, technique and timing, along with a perceptive balance between forward linear motion and shifting horizontal timbres are the hallmarks of Fewell's style."-Milo Fine, Cadence

"With phrasing that is simply flawless he digs into harmonies with a clear and unique style, free of clich."-M. Ariodante, Axe (Italy)

"Guitarist Garrison Fewell is a find one of the music's best kept secrets. A fine composer and a sure stylist with a hearty mahogany tone"-Bob Young, Jazziz

"Garrison Fewell performs flawlessly on guitar, gliding over the chords effortlessly."-Steven Loewy, All Music Guide

"Guitarist Garrison Fewell has the maturity to appreciate the importance of connecting the dots: fitting ideas together and making them work."-Nils Jacobson, All About Jazz

"The very title of Fewell's first Accurate CD - A Blue Deeper Than the Blue - suggests the layered indigo shades and poetic echoes heard from his guitar. Each note has shape and substance, each solo definition and flexibility... legato phraseology, ripe emotions, pristine beauties of sound." - Jazz Times

More Recording Reviews:

A Blue Deeper Than Blue (1993, Accurate Records): Awarded Best Jazz Recording 1993, by the Boston Music Awards, Top Ten by Coda Magazine, UPI, and Guitar Player.

"...a subtle jewel of a debut album, one that instantly places him in the top rank of jazz guitarists anywhere."-Boston Herald

Reflection of a Clear Moon (1995, Accurate Records): Awarded Top Ten Best Jazz of 1995 by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Birdland Sessions (2000, Koch Jazz): "Birdland Sessions is probably most significant for his catchy originals. several deserve to be interpreted by other players and have the potential to become future standards."- All Music Guide

Red Door Number 11 (2003, Splasc(H) Records): "Red Door is a lot like the timeless '60s duet recordings Bill Evans made with Jim Hall in more than a few ways. In the best ways, really. Provided you have the maturity to appreciate understatement, Red Door Number 11 is an unqualified success."- All About Jazz

"When it comes to playing traditional jazz guitar - nimble, swinging, bop- inflected lines on a honey- toned archtop - few contemporary pickers can match Garrison Fewell." - Andy Ellis, Guitar Player magazine. May '04

Good Night Songs (2006, Boxholder): Voted Best Jazz Recording of 2006 by the Boston Phoenix

"Tchicai posses an unfailing melodic instinct that turns his every improvisation into a miniature act of spontaneous composition. Guitarist Garrison Fewell whose ethereal playing brings out a more lyrical side in Tchicai, seems to drift along beneath his collaborators, providing a fluid bed over which they can serenely flow." - Shaun Brady, Philadelphia Citypaper

Big Chief Dreaming (2005, Soul Note): Voted Best of 2005 by Jazz Review (UK), and the Montreal Gazzette

"Like no other album to come across my desk this year, this one demands to be heard again and again. It unfolds over time and reveals no small charms. Tchicai and company make an evocative team. They also bring the scorched earth of free jazz back to life with a flower or two." - Dan Rose, One Final Note

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Call Porter

Banksville Records
2019

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Tribal Ghost

NoBusiness Records
2013

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Sound Particle 47

Creative Nation Music
2011

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Variable Density...

Creative Nation Music
2009

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The Lady of Khartoum

Creative Nation Music
2008

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Red Door Number 11

Splasc(H) Records
2003

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