Reviews that mention Lisa Mezzacappa

July 28, 2017

Lisa Mezzacappa

avant NOIR
Clean Feed CF 401 CD

Often a set of compositions on a certain record are so cinematic that the usual bromide is that the collective sounds should be a film soundtrack. In a post-modern mash-up Bay area composer Lisa Mezzacappa has triumphed over the cliché. Like a graphic novel which illustrates a written concept in a different medium, avant NOIR’s eight tracks delineate classic detective yarn tropes, but are self-contained enough to stand on their own.

Modern technology is also used judiciously to demarcate these salutes to seminal works by Dashiell Hammett and Paul Auster. Not only are these audio belles-lettres burnished with arresting contributions from saxophonist Aaron Bennett, guitarist John Finkbeiner, percussionists William Winant and Jordan Glenn, but Mezzacappa’s use of sampled Film Noir dialogue underscored by Tim Perkis’ electronics adds extended processes plus memorable aphorisms to the purposeful fantasy. MORE

December 11, 2016


Shipwreck 4
NoBusiness Records NBCD 67


Advances and Delays


Franklin Kiermyer

Closer to the Sun

Mobility Music MMII016

Anna Weber’s Simple Trio


Skirl Records 033

Michael Vlatkovich

Myrnofant’s Kiss

pfMentum CD 095

Something In The Air: Catching up with Canadian Expats

By Ken Waxman

Q: What’s the best way to become famous in Canada? A: Leave the country. Unfortunately that hoary jape still has currency in 2016, especially if you want to be a renowned actor. Music is less aggressive and plenty of first-class musicians make their home in the dominion; some foreigners even relocate here. Still for many improvisers concerns, both personal and professional, cause them to abandon their native land. Expatriation often means interaction with a wider crew of players than if they had stayed put and these recent discs capture the results of these challenges. MORE

April 8, 2014

Artist Feature:

Lisa Mezzacappa
By Ken Waxman

As a teenage electric bass player in metal, punk and ska bands on Staten Island, Lisa Mezzacappa probably never envisioned her eventual musical future. But today, Mezzacappa, 39, concentrating on acoustic bass, is acknowledged as one of improvised music’s movers and shakers in the Bay area, where she has lived since 2001. She has recorded 12 CDs as leader or co-leader, many more as a sideperson, played all over North America and Europe, and as “musical instigator” organizes local concerts. New Yorkers can see her in action this month gigging with non-West Coast players, including two Brooklyn-based musicians who complete her cross-country trio. MORE

March 5, 2013

Vinny Golia/Marco Eneidi/Lisa Mezzacappa/Vijay Anderson

Hell-Bent in the Pacific
No Business Records NBCD 49

By Ken Waxman

Both a reunion and a new configuration, the galloping interaction which makes up Hell-Bent in the Pacific unites alto saxophonist Marco Eneidi, who now lives in Austria, with his West Coast rhythm section plus added impetus from Los Angeles-based Vinny Golia’s many reeds.

Golia’s wide-ranging gigs have frequently put him in contact with bassist Lisa Mezzacappa and drummer Vijay Anderson, two of the Bay area’s busiest players, so that his contributions are inspired not alienating. Meanwhile Eneidi, a Californian who has been in Vienna since 2004, easily locks into a groove with the bassist and drummer. Crucially as well, his empathy with Golia is such that when the Angelo concentrates on tenor the result recalls the memorable two-horn partnership Eneidi had in the ‘90s with the late Glenn Spearman (1947-1998). MORE

April 6, 2012

Lisa Mezzacappa & Nightshade

Cosmic Rift
Leo Records CD LR 613

By Ken Waxman

A profound sense of balance characterizes Cosmic Rift by Lisa Mezzacappa’s Nightshade quintet. The Staten Island-raised bassist, who has been a key instigator in the percolating Bay Area scene for the last decade, has produced a CD that’s richly textured and almost visual in its timbre stretching. That’s not surprising, considering Mezzacappa’s interest in musically interpreting paintings and film, often as they’re being created.

“Alvamel's Dream” is the most obvious instance of this, since the piece is the evocative soundtrack for Alfonso Alvarez’s film. Unforced but powerful, Mezzacappa stops and slides her strings beneath the moderato melody elaborated by clarinetist Cory Wright, with layered sequences of intermittent echoes from Kjell Nordeson’s vibraphone, slurred fingering from guitarist John Finkbeiner plus sudden corkscrew flanges from Tim Perkis’ electronics all coming into play. MORE