So Much Guitar #3: Ava Mendoza

Photo: Laurent Orseau

Ava Mendoza appeared on my radar with the arrival of William Parker’s Mayan Space Station (Aum Fidelity, 2021). Mendoza’s playing blew my head clean off. A trio outing with bassist Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, this one calls to mind Sonny Sharrock at his face-melting finest. No mystery why it landed on so many Best of 2021 lists. (Mine included.) read more

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Authentically Authentic

I have a review up at Salvation South today about Jake Blount’s latest album The New Faith (Smithsonian Folkways, 2022). As with most albums I review I listened to it repeatedly, along with other releases in Blount’s catalog. I also scoured the intertubes for most of the original versions of the songs he reimagined for the album; I love hearing the source material and comparing it with the new versions. As usual, those tracks led me down other (semi) related rabbit holes, way more than I could fit into a reasonably cogent review. So here’s my psychic overflow from the experience. read more

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So Much Guitar #2: Bill Orcutt

One of the coolest surprises of the recent Big Ears Festival lineup for 2023 is the Bill Orcutt Guitar Quartet with Ava Mendoza, Shane Parish, and Wendy Eisenberg performing Orcutt’s new album, Music for Four Guitars (Palilalia Records). I’ve been listening to this fantastic set on repeat for about a month now and I never imagined it would be performed live. read more

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So Much Guitar #1: Mary Halvorson

So Much Guitar is i2b’s weekly(ish) coverage of the best of the gajillion tremendous guitarists out there.
Doing it the hard way, one string slinger at a time. How long could it possibly take?
(Feature photo (c) Julian Parker-Burns)

Every week or two seems to bring another release featuring Mary Halvorson, a musician who has established herself over the past dozen years as one of the main names in 21st century jazz guitar. She gained early notice for her work with the legendary Anthony Braxton – her Wesleyan College music professor who inspired her, after one class session, to drop her biology major and commit to music – and has so far appeared on approximately 176 albums1As per Rick Lopez’s labor-of-love fansite (click here), and assuming I can count that high with accuracy., collaborating with a who’s who catalog of her peers. She is a prolific composer who seems to be constantly on tour or in the studio. Honestly, does she ever sleep? read more

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