City of Dreams is the latest release from Boston based guitarist Garrison Fewell. Fewell mixes things up nicely here, continually sustaining your interest by presenting pieces with a variety of different tempos and in different musical styles. He opens with the up-tempo title track, then switches gears with another original, the bossa nova "Girl With The Groovy Hips." He changes the pace again with a beautiful rendition of John Coltrane's classic "Naima." Fewell opens the song with a solo arrangement of the theme before bringing the group to restate it, creating a nice effect. The up tempo "Blues For No Reason" picks things back up before giving way to the exotic "Afternoon At The Souk" with its flavor of the middle east. Fewell and the great pianist George Cables then perform a beautiful duet on the Mal Waldron ballad "Soul Eyes." The rest of the group returns for Fewell's "Waltz For The Lonely One" and the album closes with the Tina Brooks composition "Theme For Doris."
It is said that every pitcher that every threw a perfect game was able to do in part because he had great defense behind him. Here, Fewell has assembled a veteran cast of musicians and he wisely features them prominently, especially Cables and the Italian saxophonist Tino Tracanna. Cables stands out on every track while "City of Dreams" and "Naima" are particularly successful vehicles for Tracanna's playing.
There are places on this CD, his first solo on "Afternoon At The Souk," for instance, where Garrison Fewell blows you away with his exceptional technique. There are countless others where he surprises you with his capacity for subtlety. And there are moments, such as during Cables' solo on "Soul Eyes," that Fewell lays out and lets his musicians take over. But of course. Garrison Fewell is a great jazz guitarist.