John Zorn's Stone Commissioning Series presents: Ava Mendoza - solos and duos with Nels Cline
6pm doors • 7pm show
New Music. New Jazz. Curated by John Zorn.
The John Zorn Commissioning Series celebrates The Stone, Zorn’s revolutionary venue non-profit venue that was “dedicated to the experimental and avant-garde” and served as a vital spot for new music in Manhattan’s Alphabet City for over a decade. Held on the last Wednesday of every month, National Sawdust honors the spirit of the Stone, hosting the world premiere of new works.
This month’s concert features acclaimed guitarist, singer, songwriter, and composer Ava Mendoza as well as Wilco guitarist Nels Cline. The first half of the evening will feature Mendoza playing new works for guitar and voice from composers including Trevor Dunn and Devin Hoff, and the second half will be a set of extraordinary duets played by these two spectacular guitarists.
Ava Mendoza is a Brooklyn-based guitarist, singer, songwriter, and composer. Born in 1983, she started performing her own music and as a sidewoman and collaborator in many different projects as soon as she was old enough to get into 18+ venues. As a guitarist, Mendoza has received acclaim for her technique and viscerality. Her most ongoing work is as leader of experimental rock band Unnatural Ways, and as a solo performer on guitar/voice. In any context, she is committed to bringing expressivity, energy, and a wide sonic range to the music. Mendoza has toured throughout the US and Europe and recorded or performed with musicians including Carla Bozulich, Fred Frith, Mick Barr, Nels Cline, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Mike Watt, Matana Roberts, Ikue Mori, Matt Mitchell, Jon Irabagon, members of Caroliner, the Violent Femmes, and more. Recordings are available on labels Tzadik, Weird Forest, Clean Feed, NotTwo, Resipiscent, and New Atlantis.
Friendly critics have quoted: “It’s . . . Ava Mendoza’s deconstructing of blues and punk into brutal shredfests that’s causing a ruckus in NYC’s DIY hubs” (Brad Cohan, Noisey). “A wizard on a semi-circle of effects pedals, but . . . equally adept with FX-less technique” (Lars Gotrich, NPR). She was featured as one of Guitar World‘s “10 Female Guitarists You Should Know”.
Guitar explorer Nels Cline is best known these days as the lead guitarist in the band Wilco. His recording and performing career — spanning jazz, rock, punk, and experimental music — is well into its fourth decade with over 200 recordings, including at least 30 for which he is leader. Cline has received many accolades including Rolling Stone anointing him as both one of 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time.
Beyond Wilco, Cline performs in a duo project with guitarist Julian Lage in addition to a quartet, The Nels Cline 4 (featuring Lage plus bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey); collaborates with his partner Yuka Honda as the duo Cup; performs as Stretch Woven with percussionist Scott Amendola; leads The Nels Cline Singers (featuring Amendola plus bassist Trevor Dunn and percussionist Cyro Baptista); and plays with Stained Radiance (an improvisational live project with performance painter Norton Wisdom). Cline also periodically presents concerts of his concept album Lovers, which involves a 17-person ensemble and dozens of collaborative composers and improvisers.