The Birdland Sessions
Guitarist Garrison Fewell's previous recording garnered positive notices and he has labored in jazz-education trenches at Berklee for many years. For this date, pianist Jim McNeely, Steve LaSpina, bassist-of-choice for several guitarists, and drummer Jeff Williams join Fewell. Fewell wrote seven of the tracks, with Sam Rivers' growing-into-standardhood "Beatrice" and Hampton Hawes' "Sonora" and "Black Forrest" included as reference points. Too bad McNeely's estimable composition skills weren't engaged. Working squarely within the Jim Hall bag, Fewell delivers in an intelligent, slightly cool manner, with an obvious eye toward good tone and clean attack. His "Dance of the Moroccan Veil" is a high point.