Friday, June 19, 2015

Alessio Alberghini, Garrison Fewell, inVerso

If we keep our ears open these days, there is excellent music to be heard. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It may take a bit of combing through the mass of things coming out, and in part that's my job on these posts, to uncover and speak of what is worthwhile.

A just-released album inVerso (Floating Forest) is a prime example. On it are a series of duos that the artists call "Nine Variations on an Intimate Moment," where closeness of musical orientation leads to a sort of uncanny, open oneness. It's Alessio Alberghini on soprano and baritone sax, with an excellently brandished-burnished sound, and Garrison Fewell on electric guitar, a singular player with a smart and inspired approach. The compositional frameworks are by Alberghini and Fewell, with two by the late luminary of the new jazz world, John Tchicai.

The frameworks can be filled with melodically song-like fluidity or be abstract in makeup, but in either case we hear some marvelously attuned duets throughout, two masters who are so compatible musically that, as Ed Hazell's liner notes state, they can feel free to go each in any direction that seems right with confidence that the other player will respond with something equally inspired and fitting.

The music is both free and concentric, with deep listening and deep concentration joining together with two lifetimes of expression and a sure sense of sounding. It becomes so unified that you stop listening in terms of, "here's the guitar, now the sax is doing x, y or z." It is simultaneous sounding in the highest realm. At the same time what Alberghini and Fewell do on their instruments define the parameters of how wide-ranging freedom can somehow sound pre-ordained, have an inevitability that is in fact anything but.

If you are a guitarist, a reed player, and/or just get off on great sounds, this one is the right one for all that. It is a superb example of the art of improvisation today. So grab a copy, already.


  1. Grego! I have taken over Garrison's web site, at the bequest of his wife, Emy. I know you have written about Garrison a few times, and I will seek out those posts and link to them on his site. I am currently scanning the interwebz, looking for all of his recordings that are available, and am compiling a list with links and album cover images. I'll be doing the same with his books. Then, I want to capture reviews like this one, and link to them. Garrison was a great guy, and I was fortunate to know him for the final year of his life. I want to keep his music alive, and accessible to people who get it. - Chuck Dennis

  2. Hi Chuck!

    Garrison was a someone very special, yes, and I am so glad you are keeping the torch burning. There are several reviews for sure here--and I will be reviewing the latest also in a week or so. Also I did review his book, I think on the Gapplegate Music Blog. The search index boxes at the top of this and the other blog should call up all of the relevant reviews. I too got to know him better in those last months. What an amazing man and a great force for the music! It's great that you are keeping his music in the light of day where it belongs. I know he had several releases in the works at the end--but do not know their status other than the release I am about to review.

    All best,