Guitarist Garrison Fewell Dies at 61

Authored guitar textbooks in addition to recording and performing

Garrison Fewell

Guitarist, author, and educator Garrison Fewell died July 5 at age 61, according to a press release from Jazz Promo Services. The cause and place of death were not mentioned.

Fewell, according to the release, grew up in Philadelphia and began playing guitar at age 11. He turned professional in 1967 and studied with guitarists Lenny Breau and Pat Martino at the Berklee College of Music. Upon his graduation in 1977 Fewell joined the guitar department at Berklee where he taught for 38 years. He authored two textbooks on jazz guitar: Jazz Improvisation for Guitar-A Melodic Approach and Jazz Improvisation for Guitar-A Harmonic Approach. He also wrote for music magazines.

In 1989 Fewell moved to Paris, where he taught at the American School of Modern Music, and performed in jazz clubs in the city. He worked in duo with pianist Alex Ulanowsky on a teaching program in jazz theory and improvisation. In 1991 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and taught at the Jazz & Rock School in Freiburg, Germany. In 1992 he taught in Cologne and Aachen, Germany, and also played with David Friesen on the Zelt-Musik-Festival in Freiburg.

In 1993, Fewell was joined by Fred Hersch, Cecil McBee and Matt Wilson on his debut album (Accurate) A Blue Deeper Than the Blue. He subsequently recorded four more albums as a leader, then, in 2009, founded the Variable Density Sound Orchestra and recorded two albums on his own Creative Nation Music label. From 1994 to 1999 Fewell held summer courses in Warsaw.

In recent years Fewell divided his time between teaching at Berklee, holding private concerts at his home, playing at clubs in the U.S., and an extensive playing and teaching schedule from his home in Bergamo, Italy.