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Lisa Mezzacappa

Berkeley, CA   

Lisa Mezzacappa is a San Francisco Bay Area-based composer, bassist, bandleader, and producer. Called “one of the most imaginative figures on the Bay Area creative jazz scene” by The Mercury News and “a Bay Area treasure” by KQED public radio, she has been an active part of California’s vibrant music community for more than 15 years. Mezzacappa’s activities as a composer and bandleader include ethereal chamber music, electro-acoustic works, avant-garde jazz, music for groups from duo to large ensemble, and collaborations with film, dance and visual art. 

Recent projects include avantNOIR, a suite for sextet inspired by noir fiction; Organelle, a chamber suite for improvisers grounded in scientific processes on micro and cosmic scales; Glorious Ravage, an evening-length song cycle for large ensemble and films drawn from the writings of Victorian lady adventurers; and Touch Bass, a collaboration with choreographer Risa Jaroslow for three dancers and three bassists. Current projects include a suite for sextet inspired by Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics stories about the origins of the universe; the new duo B. Experimental Band which performs original compositions for improvisers bimonthly in Oakland, CA; and The Electronic Lover, an opera podcast created in collaboration with writer Beth Lisick.

Mezzacappa has released her music on the New World, Clean Feed, NoBusiness, Leo, and NotTwo record labels, and her work has been supported on the national level by the MAP Fund, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, and the Andy Warhol Foundation; and by Bay Area funders the Wattis Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and Intermusic SF.  She has been artist-in-residence at the Cité International des Arts in Paris, France, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Headlands Center for the Arts and the Banff International Jazz Workshop. She has also been a participant in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, a program of American Composers Orchestra and the Jazz Studies Institute at Columbia University.

Glorious Ravage – live highlights

Glorious Ravage is a panoramic song cycle by San Francisco Bay Area bassist and composer Lisa Mezzacappa, that features a large ensemble of stellar California improvisers performing with films created by Bay Area moving image artists Janis Crystal Lipzin, Kathleen Quillian, Alfonso Alvarez and Konrad Steiner. The program takes as its inspiration the adventures and writings of lady explorers of the 19th century who trekked to the wildest parts of the earth, to escape, to discover, and to lose themselves.

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Lisa Mezzacappa’s Organelle: Ephemeroptera (US premiere)

Live at the Berkeley Art Museum 9/16/16
Darren Johnston, trumpet
Kyle Bruckmann, oboes/electronics
Cory Wright, reeds
John Finkbeiner, guitar
Lisa Mezzacappa, bass
Jordan Glenn, drums
ORGANELLE is a set of pieces inspired by diverse scientific processes-some enormous and unfathomable, others impossibly microscopic–that form a whole through the insights and explorations of master improvisers. The composition draws its musical ideas from the different ways that the human body, the natural world, and the cosmos experience the passing of time.

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Lisa Mezzacappa Six: Blood, Sea

A suite of music for sextet inspired by Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics stories.

Music by Lisa Mezzacappa

Aaron Bennett, tenor saxophone
John Finkbeiner, electric guitar
Mark Clifford, vibraphone
Tim Perkis, electronics
Lisa Mezzacappa, acoustic bass
Jordan Glenn, drums

Recorded live at the CA Jazz Conservatory, 11.2.18.

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