[To learn more about Garrison Fewell and the group,
check out this
Boston Phoenix feature story by Jon Garelick]
The Variable Density Sound Orchestra is veteran Boston-based guitarist/composer
Garrison Fewell's newest working ensemble. Whenever possible, this
international group features charter members Roy Campbell (trumpet
and flute), Achille Succi (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), Eric
Hofbauer (guitar), John Voigt (bass) and Miki Matsuki (drums), all
of whom appear on its self-titled
February 2009 debut.
As the band’s name implies, its original music explores a
wide range of textures and interactions. “The goal,”
Fewell explains, “is to create balance, not allowing individual
soloists, collective instant composing or pre-composed material
to dominate for too long.”
Fewell actively shapes the ensemble's music with the other musicians.
The 10 tracks on their debut, which range from completely improvised
to original compositions with a stronger framework for individual
expression, take their inspiration from longstanding interests such
as ancient cultures, spirituality, and the music of Albert Ayler,
Anthony Braxton and Sun Ra.
"Guitarist Garrison Fewell has never stopped moving forward
on his musical journey from accomplished post-bop guitarist to free-jazz
explorer," writes music journalist Ed Hazell in the liner notes
for Variable Density Sound Orchestra. "Here, on his
most fully realized and personal recording in the free jazz idiom
to date, you can still hear the thoughtfulness, tenderness, and
intimacy; careful listening; and the rigorous construction of line
and feel for melody that have marked all his albums. The Variable
Density Sound Orchestra is a group well suited to realizing Garrison's
concepts and compositions."
Since the release of its first record in early 2009, the band has
played a number of gigs in Boston and New York with varying line-ups.
Its second recording, Sound Particle 47 (CNM016), was
released in September 2010. It features additional personnel (all
the original members plus trombonist Steve Swell, tenor saxophonist
Kelly Roberge and bassist Dmitry Ishenko), as well as new compositions
by Fewell, members of the group and frequent collaborator John Tchicai.