Boston-based guitarists Garrison Fewell and Eric Hofbauer perform an eclectic series of duets inspired by the deeper roots of jazz in the music of West Africa, Persia and the Arabic-Islamic world. The music of this intergenerational duo, which met for nearly a year and a half to discuss the music before playing a single note together, juxtaposes ancient traditions with the language and techniques of contemporary improvisation.  

"It seemed to both Garrison and Eric that the music of several cultures, reshaped over several tempestuous centuries, pulses through jazz of the 21st century," writes journalist Ed Hazell in the liner notes to the duo's debut, The Lady of Khartoum (CNM 010). "Following the logic of improvisation's eternal present, [they] have synthesized the music of centuries into something organic to the moment...an album of music that stepped out of a deeper understanding of history into a deeper knowledge of our common humanity."

Fewell and Hofbauer augment their guitars with preparations, unusual tunings and percussion ranging from African ribbed drum sticks to antique Afghan and Moroccan jewelry to bells from India and the African Yoruba tribe. Their music, most of which is improvised, references such diverse elements as Congolese mythology, Delta blues, Sun Ra, a muezzin's call to prayer and the sonorities of traditional instruments such as the kora and African thumb piano. The duo also adds original compositions to the mix, as well reinterpretations of music by Thelonious Monk and John Tchicai.

Read more about the group's debut recording in this Boston Phoenix feature.