Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Garrison Fewell's Variable Density Sound Orch: Sound Particle 47

We take a virtual trip to Boston today for the larger ensemble sounds of Garrison Fewell's Variable Density Sound Orchestra and their second album, Sound Particle 47 (Creative Nation Music 016).

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. For this recording we have a nine-piece group: Garrision on electric guitar plus Roy Campbell on trumpet, Steve Swell, trombone, Eric Hofbauer, guitar, Achille Succi, alto sax and bass clarinet, and other players, all on the game. The music was composed by Fewell and his sidemen along with a few by John Tchicai.

You get a roll-and-tumble music that has plenty of solo space, sometimes collectively. Swell and Campbell stand out, as do the guitarists, but everybody puts in their time with creative results. The ensemble size grows and shrinks within pieces in ways that provide listeners with contrast and aural adventure throughout the set.

The arranged-written parts come and go at various points, avoiding a head-solos-head approach.

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 going on right now.

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