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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Mendoza Hoff Revels - Echolocation (AUM Fidelity, 2023)

By Ferruccio Martinotti

Are you basically (prejudicially maybe...) suspicious about guitars in jazz but you couldn’t imagine the heart’s rotation without Thurston Moore, Jim O’Rourke and Arto Lindsay? Wouldn't you swap zillions of manic virtuosos with Ron Asheton, Greg Ginn and Tony Iommi? Are you considering “punk ethos” and “punk attitude” the best expressions ever generated by human semantics? If yes, you parked on the right spot, cos here we have sonic nitroglycerin for your avid palates. Her name is Ava Mendoza who, along with a battered Fender Jaguar and the blessing of the Man himself Marc Ribot (“beautiful, powerful and highly original, a new sound, a new voice”), after being part of several experimental bands, crosses the path with Devin Hoff, an hyper gifted bass player, who, among many others, lent his fat strings to Xiu Xiu, Cibo Matto, Kira Roessler and Juila Holter. The two become partners in crime under the company name Mendoza Hoff Revels and Echolocation is their formidable debut album. For us it could be more than enough but the icing on the cake (a waterfall of icing...) is the rest of the gang: Ches Smith on drums and James Brandon Lewis on tenor sax. So you have an atomic rhythm section setting the pace for Mendoza’s sandpaper guitars, never self indulgent but always, even in the solos, fully focused and devoted to the main picture and when it’s time to Lewis...well, what can we say for this larger than life musician? It’s like passing the ball to Maradona, everything can happen and IT happens! On a press release of the record we found as landmarks (shared by Ava), The Stooges’ Funhouse (AH!) and The Minutemen (AH! x 2) that for sure, along with free jazz Founding Fathers, are tasteful ingredients in the mix. As far as concern Minutemen, Hoff’s bass sound will certainly remind you the multi-chromatic sound of Mike Watt of the legendary Californian punk combo.