Free Jazz Quartet Mendoza Hoff Revels Lures Listeners Into the Music Abyss

Album art (cropped) | Courtesy of the artist

There is always room for one more supergroup and we surely have one in Mendoza Hoff Revels. Granted, if you can handle the Scoville burn, the flavor of this particular power-quartet is heavy on the free-jazz-rock seasoning.

Taken from their forthcoming album Echolocation, the five-minute slice of “Diablada” assures us that Mendoza Hoff Revels really like the whole-tone scale and they prefer it injected with molten metal. In this combination, the band — guitarist Ava Mendoza, tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, electric bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Ches Smith — are the certain offspring of the mid-‘80s shrapnel-jazz of guitarist Sonny Sharrock.

Mendoza’s stabbing guitar lines of single notes and hammered clusters lure “Diablada” into unanticipated and rewarding places; saxophonist Lewis gladly meets Mendoza there while the rhythm section of Hoff and Smith corral and shoulder the performance to the exit door with the same opening, angular theme that brought us into “Diablada” in the first place. Mendoza Hoff Revels don’t reinvent the avant-rock wheel but they sure as hell know how to test drive it at blinding speeds and turns.

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