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.
This freewheeling pan-cultural duo helps show that jazz’s family tree has some pretty deep roots.
—Nathan Turk, Signal To Noise
…Fewell and Hofbauer make compelling music worth more that a few listens.
—Michael G. Nastos, AllMusic.com
Their deconstructions are deft and inventive…
—Brian Marley, The Wire
You hear Louisiana, Africa, and the Middle East in these songs crafted from two guitars and a boxful of percussive toys. It’s eclectic, that’s for sure.
—Steve Greenlee, JazzTimes
Fewell and Hofbauer are both players acutely aware of the sonic potential their instrument has to offer, and that awareness is one of the many qualities that combine to lift the music on The Lady Of Khartoum well above the run-of-the-mill…the duo’s economy lends to the proceedings the kind of dignity that seems like an increasingly rare quality.
—Nic Jones, AllAboutJazz.com
These guys get better every time I witness what they are doing. On the one hand, they are as comfortable as old slippers. But, if you really listen, they’ll knock you on your butt. They’ll do it quietly, subtly. But they are dangerous. We need more music like that.
—Stu Vandermark, Boston Jazz Scene
The Lady Of Khartoum – MORE INFORMATION