Guitarist Garrison Fewell has pursued a unique pathway of creative musical evolution while touring the globe for forty years and receiving critical acclaim across a wide range of musical styles and disciplines.
Born in Philadelphia on October 14, 1953, Fewell has been performing professionally since the late 1960s. He grew up steeped in the blues styles of Mississippi John Hurt, Gary Davis, and Fred McDowell. Then in 1972 he toured Europe, the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, where he developed a taste for a variety of world music forms. Returning to the US in 1973, he studied jazz guitar with Lenny Breau and Pat Martino and received a bachelor’s degree in performance from Berklee College of Music, where he has been a professor of guitar and ear training since 1977.
Fewell has released fifteen recordings, beginning with the 1993 Boston Music Award–winning A Blue Deeper Than the Blue, and has multiple titles ranked on Best of the Year lists in publications such as United Press International, Coda, Guitar Player, Musica Jazz, All About Jazz, The Wire, Montreal Gazette and his hometown Philadelphia Inquirer. Boston Phoenix critic Jon Garelick included Fewell’s ensemble, the Variable Density Sound Orchestra, in his best of 2009 list and declared, “The guitarist formerly known as one of Boston’s most eloquent inside players has become one of its leading experimenters.”
Fewell has taught at over fifty European conservatories, and at McGill and Laval Universities in Canada. He was a clinician for the International Association of Jazz Educators at conventions in New York City, Toronto, Maastricht, and the Montreux Jazz Festival, and has taught for the Polish Jazz Society, New York University, the New School, and Global Music Foundation in seminars across Europe. A composer and member of BMI, Fewell has published and recorded over fifty compositions.
In addition to Outide Music, Inside Voices, Fewell has authored four other books: Jazz Improvisation (Ninth World Music 1984), Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach (Hal Leonard/Berklee Press, 2005), The Art of Harmony and Improvisation (Carisch, 2007), and Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Harmonic Approach (Hal Leonard / Berklee Press, 2010). He writes for Guitar Player, All About Jazz, and Axe magazines, and is the recipient of music grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artslink, and Arts International. He has also been a USIA American Cultural Specialist and received three Berklee College Faculty Fellowship Grants.