Variable Density Sound Orchestra should be
on jazz education syllabi worldwide: It demonstrates how even free
improvisation depends on musicians listening closely to each other.
Guitarist Garrison Fewell’s septet uses some compositional
structures, but the real backbone comes from developing and responding
to each other’s spontaneous ideas. The products of that chemistry
—Michael J. West, JazzTimes
This is as intriguing a project as has been available on the contemporary
jazz scene, and comes highly recommended. It's chock full of inventive
musicianship, truly new concepts, and fresh approaches that pay
—Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide
Recommended New Release (February 2009)
—Laurence Donohue-Greene, AllAboutJazz-New York
An intense two-guitar chamber group led by the Boston guitarist,
whose output with colleague Eric Hofbauer is looking more and more
—David R. Adler, Lerterland
Delights abound on every track and while there is no doubting the
serious intent, this recording must have been as much fun to make
as it is to listen to.
—John Sharpe, AllAboutJazz.com
There’s one strange and wonderful event after another in Fewell’s
pieces—eloquent solo statements, serendipitous combinations
of clang and sigh, the beauty of his guitar set across the soundstage
from Hofbauer’s slightly harder-edged sound as the two support
the other players. At times, the bed of complimentary guitar sounds
acts like a pine-needle-covered path through a shady forest.
—Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix
The pieces are composed, and wonderfully organized, around
a double guitar backbone that is lyrical and elegant. Both guitarists
have this very functional, humble and melodic approach, making especially
the longer suite-like pieces flow like rivers...truly excellent.
—Stef Gijssels, Free Jazz
Solos throughout the recording are eloquent rather than
indulgent, and the “density” of textures always remains
—Jon Garelick, Jazziz
Using the blues and improvised melody, Fewell’s sextet
creates something like a completely tonal yet free music...the results
are solid, approachable and at the same time richly complex...I
for one would love to catch this Variable Density Sound Orchestra
—Phillip McNally, Cadence
For the descriptively-titled Variable Density Sound Orchestra,
guitarist Garrison Fewell has assembled a group whose members expertly
develop the thematic content central to the pieces on the album.
Even when the musical lines tend to go in multiple contrapuntal
directions, the group behaves as one coherent unit, highlighting
—Lyn Horton, AllAboutJazz-New York
Call what Garrison Fewell does composition or simply strategies
for improvisation. Whatever, the guitarist formerly known as one
of Boston's most eloquent inside players has become one of its leading
experimenters. On this year's Variable Density Sound Orchestra
(Creative Nation Music), Fewell gathered some superb improvisers—among
them frequent guitar-duo partner (and CNM honcho) Eric Hofbauer,
New York trumpeter Roy Campbell, and Italian bass-clarinettist Achille
Succi—and they, following his spare instructions and often
graphic scores, created a suite of "variable density"
and unforced lyricism, all with compositional integrity.
—Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix: The Year In Jazz