Settled in Brooklyn, Ava Mendoza has gained a deserved reputation in recent years for being one of the most exciting musicians on the New York scene, appearing on stages and records with John Zorn, Matana Roberts, Fred Frith, Hamid Drake, William Parkers and Mike Watt. Although also performing with the trio Unnatural Ways (with whom she appeared at Jazz in August in 2016), here Mendoza presents her beguiling solo work whose latest chapter, New Spells, released in 2021, brings together her own compositions with pieces written by Trevor Dunn, Devin Hoff and John Dikeman. Marc Ribot has described New Spells as “a beautiful, powerful and highly original solo electric guitar record – not just another record but a new sound, a new voice”.
Since 2005, drummer João Lencastre has been exploring his creative side in the project Communion. What has become immediately apparent is that this vehicle knows no bounds in terms of the form it can take, having started out as a quintet, altered to a trio and now grown, in its latest incarnation, into an octet – through taking the unusual step of adding two saxophonists, two guitarists and two bassists, in addition to piano and the inevitable drums. Unlimited Dreams, an album recorded for Clean Feed by this octet, explores his imagination as a composer as never before in an exciting mix of genres, from afrobeat to electronica, rock to reggae, and with a guaranteed diversion into jazz in the broadest sense.
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