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Garrison Fewell/Eric Hofbauer Duo

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Garrison Fewell/Eric Hofbauer Duo

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.” ...
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    The Lady of Khartoum

    Creative Nation Music
    2008

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Hofbauer is a student of deconstructed Americana, and this extraordinary duo session makes most of Bill Frisell’s records seem one-dimensional.
--The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, Ninth Edition

This freewheeling pan-cultural duo helps show that jazz’s family tree has some pretty deep roots.
--Nathan Turk, Signal to Noise

Tracks like “Dogon Delta Blues” and “Devil at the Salang Pass” are adventurous and quirky, exploring the boundaries of the guitar’s sonic possibilities. “Farsighted Friendship”, a John Tchicai composition (Fewell is a long-time collaborator), is a fitting closing tune, beautiful and contemplative.
--Karen Hogg, AllAboutJazz-New York

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. It all adds up to something special in the sense that the very restricted tonal palette that two guitars can offer is effectively trumped by the wealth of ideas and the sharp musical reflexes of the two players concerned.
--Nic Jones, AllAboutJazz.com

...this duet session from Boston-area guitarists Garrison Fewell and Eric Hofbauer both dazzles and beguiles...A diaspora of titles alludes to the wide ranging influences brought to bear through this delightful but uncompromising set...[a] richly rewarding disc, resonant of other cultures and other times, yet firmly of its own.
--John Sharpe, AllAboutJazz.com

Like conversations between two distant friends, the dialogs of these skilled improvisers speak of familiar and unfamiliar territories that are at many times intriguing and trans-cultural. The opening dissonant plucks heard on the “Prologue: Before the Dream,” the gut-bucket blues in “Dogon Delta Blues,” or the rural patchwork of the title selection, all suggest locales that are at once foreign and native. The recording ends with its longest and most emotive number, “Farsighted Friendship,” a fitting conclusion to a memorable work of creativity.
--Mark F. Turner, AllAboutJazz.com

This seemingly unmatched pair join beautifully in a program of progressive ethnic-influenced music that taps from bop and fusion, Middle Eastern folk forms, and much freedom. What sets them apart, especially evident on the title track, is the resonant use of sticks on strings, combining Arabic inferences with a Western sensibility. Where guitar fans should find this intriguing to the nth degree, the general public interested in improvised music should also find that Fewell and Hofbauer make compelling music worth more that a few listens.
--Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

Their deconstructions are deft and inventive, as is their postmodern reconstruction of “Bye Bye Blackbird” as “A Cajun Raven”. The gorgeous drift of “Farsighted Friendship”, which occupies the same territory as one of Loren Connors’s airs, brings things nicely to a close.
--Brian Marley, The Wire

The Lady of Khartoum is a beauty that emerged as Hofbauer and Fewell discussed their disparate interests -- Fewell’s world travels, Hofbauer’s teaching gigs, and “different musical techniques that bridge the cultural divide”...the freely improvised tracks are impressive for their consistent mood. Ten percent of sales from this lucid, affecting CD goes to Mercy Corps.
--Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix

The Lady of Khartoum, a series of duets between the Boston guitarists Garrison Fewell and Eric Hofbauer, is a lesson in advanced harmonics as well as a tour of global improvised music. You hear Louisiana, Africa, and the Middle East in these songs crafted from two guitars and a boxful of percussive toys. It’s ecelctic, that’s for sure.
--Steve Greenlee, JazzTimes

Two criminally undersung guitarists meet for a gentle but probing series of duets on The Lady of Khartoum...a love song to the guitar, in all its idiomatic strangeness, by two fine practicioners. And it’s a vibrant, imaginative, and -- wait for it -- fun record.
--Jason Bivins, Cadence

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