Garrison Fewell — “unsung hero…” Vision Festival, 2011

Review of “Ascension Unending” at the Vision Festival, 2011, NYC — by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NY

John Tchicai’s Ascension Unending, a Tribute to John Coltrane was next and it was one of my favorite sets this year. It dealt with the spiritual side of jazz rather than the long-winded free blowing which often takes place. The well-selected band featured John Tchicai & Alex Weiss on saxes, Rosie Hertlein on violin & voice, Garrison Fewell on guitar, Dmitry Ishanko on bass and Ches Smith on drums. There is something special about 60’s free/jazz legend John Tchicai that radiates from the man whenever I meet him or whenever he is on the stage. They performed some written music and John, Alex and Rosie all contributed songs, as well as one cover by Marion Brown. The Marion Brown piece featured enchanting three part vocal harmonies from John, Alex & Rosie singing their words in a very Sun Ra-like way. Boston-based guitarist Garrison Fewell is an unsung hero of mine and played some incredible (Bern Nix-like) counterpoint and haunting harmonies with the rest of the sextet. There were different combinations of players in which different nuances were explored. I particularly dug a trio of bowed guitar, ghost-like drifting violin and rubbed cymbals. Mr. Tchicai’s charming, deep voice was at the center of a few of these songs even singing some swell bebop nonsense words on one piece. Every piece was well worked out and well-chosen, fitting with the spiritual vibe of the entire set. On a later piece, Garrison Fewell sounded like Joe Morris at the beginning of his solo and like John McLaughlin circa ‘Extrapolation’ by the end of his solo. No small feat from one of those under-recognized guitar greats.


~ by Garrison Fewell on August 21, 2011.

One Response to “Garrison Fewell — “unsung hero…” Vision Festival, 2011”

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