Photo: Myles Boisen


4 1/2 Stars, Downbeat Magazine

“My big discovery was bassist-composer Lisa Mezzacappa’s avantNOIR project...The score was fast-paced and kaleidoscopic, Mingus-like; the ensemble hurtled from one written episode to another but gave each turn its jazz-essential immediacy, as if the music were freshly imagined.” — Howard Mandel, Jazz Beyond Jazz

avant-NOIR is a suite of music for sextet, inspired by noir genre fiction set in New York City (my hometown) and the San Francisco Bay Area (my adopted home for the past 13 years). avant-NOIR is a musical companion to Paul Auster’s abstract "soft-boiled"" crime stories from his New York Trilogy of the 1980s, set in conversation with the West Coast classic hard-boiled 1920s-era detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett. The music progresses like a detective’s case, using clues and imagery from the crime novels such as maps, letters, messages and relationships between characters, numbers and places, to create compositions with acoustic and electric sounds, field recordings and composed and improvised material. The musicians navigate musical clues, cryptograms, found composed fragments and other "unsolved" musical elements to create different versions of the piece for different performances.

Aaron Bennett, saxophones
John Finkbeiner, electric guitar
Jordan Glenn, drums
LM, acoustic bass
William Winant, vibraphone, percussion, live Foley
Tim Perkis, electronics

CD out on Clean Feed Records January 2017!

CD Reviews:
Izzy Yellin in Downbeat Magazine
Troy Collins in Point of Departure
Derk Richardson in Oakland Magazine
Nicola Negri in All About Jazz
Mike Shanley's Music Blog
Mariusz Zawiślak in MultiKulti Project Blog (Polish) (Portuguese)
Sergio Piccirilli in El Intruso (Spanish)
Glenn Astarita in All About Jazz
Grego Applegate Edwards' Blog
Donovan Burtan in Positively Underground
The Dusty Groove
Chris Monsen in Musikk Magasinet (Norwegian)
Stefano Oliva in Kathodik (Italian)
Ken Waxman in Jazz World
Joao Santos in Expresso (Portuguese)
Johan Scherwin in Lira (Swedish)
Enrico Bettinello in Blow Up Magazine (Italian)
Tim Niland's Jazz and Blues Blog
Derek Taylor in Dusted Magazine

Track Listing:

The Continental Op in San Francisco, c. 1927
1. Fillmore Street
2. The Ballad of Big Flora
3. Army Street
4. Medley on the Big Knockover (Green St. / At Larrouy’s Bar / Montgomery St.)

In Which Sam Spade Joins Caspar Gutman for a Drink in Room 12C of the Alexandria Hotel
5. A Bird in the Hand

Daniel Quinn, Max Work and Paul Auster on the Upper West Side
6. Quinn’s Serenade

Dead and/or Alive in Brooklyn Heights, c.1947
7. Ghosts (Black and White, then Blue)

Peter Stillman in Riverside Park, c. 1986
8. Babel

Live video from the Monterey Jazz Festival, fall 2018: