Last September, I had the privilege of introducing the guitarist, composer, and producer Lolivone de la Rosa to Jazzdelapena’s readers. At the time, the pandemic was raging, and de La Rosa was forced to discontinue her studies at the Berklee College of Music temporarily. Frustrated by events beyond her control, she found solace in composing the tune Resilient Terrace (inspired by British guitarist Allan Holdsworth’s 1999 classic, 54 Duncan Terrace).
I’ve been keeping up with de la Rosa’s exploits. I’m happy to announce that she graduated from Berklee with a Bachelor’s in Contemporary Writing, Producing, and Performance. Also, she relocated to New York.
Earlier this week, she released a cathartic 5-track EP titled SO20 Guitar, whose repertoire includes two original compositions and 3 “covers.” De La Rosa’s liner notes tell the story: “This EP is very meaningful to me as it captures conversations I had with me throughout the pandemic and documents how it inspired my music and strengthened my guitar playing. It was the first time I had such a vulnerable, raw, and honest interaction with my guitar. There was nowhere to hide!”
The repertoire is based on a series of guitar studies designed to revisit the fundamentals of the guitar musically. In guitar speak, Belleza Rustica(Rustic Beauty) is an improvised search for colors, textures, delay, reverb, and “clusters” inspired by guitar legend John Scofield. Lullaby for B pays tribute to guitarist Peter Bernstein, who composed the tune for his son, Bruno. Thelonious Monk’s Reflections finds de la Rosa striving to overcome her weaknesses and tame “the perfection dragon.” Luiza (Samba de Maria Luiza) is inspired by the Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim’s indomitable and eclectic style. Etude No. 1’sobjective is to expand on the instrument’s range and visualize the fretboard horizontally instead of vertically.
Emerging guitarists will find the material and de la Rosa’s creative process inspiring and instructional. Listeners who appreciate music from the heart will find the selections short, sweet, and enjoyable. SO2O Guitar offers listeners an intimate glimpse into the mind of an emerging artist on the path to enlightenment.
The production was mixed and mastered by de la Rosa at her home studio in San Juan, Puerto Rico, between 2020 and 2021.