Eric Hofbauer Jazz Guitarist / Composer / Educator

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Garrison Fewell’s VDSO & Sound Particle 47 – Press Quotes

Melodicism and freedom don’t often go hand in hand, but guitarist Garrison Fewell is carving out a niche for himself where such a pairing seems inevitable.
John Sharpe, AllAboutJazz-New York

Good band balance, nice themes (not all Fewell’s; Hofbauer, Campbell and Swell contribute; John Tchicai too), fine production…Sound Particle 47 could become addictive.
François Couture, Monsieur Délire

Garrison Fewell’s second album with his tumultuous gang of horn-blowers and noisemakers is a jubilant cacophony that compromises absolutely nothing!
John Garratt, PopMatters.com

This is advanced ensemble improvisation that begins where Mingus’s larger ensemble works leave off and takes the music to further outposts and way stations in the realm of new sounds. Sound Particle 47 brings to you an uncompromising look at what thoughtful compositions and intelligent improvisation can do when built up by a very talent group of musicians. This is a first-rate performance of cuttingly acute music. Definitely recommended for an excellent example of what is gong on right now.
Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog

It’s a formidable ensemble essaying memorable contributions with unusual formal structures that keep the improvisers on their toes…a complete program that holds together like a suite.
Robert Iannapollo, Signal to Noise

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 are gorgeous.
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 big dividends.
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 essential.
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 lucid.
—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 live.
—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 certain instruments.
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

 

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