Guitar One Magazine
Hometown: Sedona, Ariz.
Musical Style: Electric Fingerstyle
Latest Recording: The Birth
Born and raised on Long Island, N.Y., Anthony began his musical training at age 5 with violin lessons and later learned the rudiments of piano playing. He began taking guitar lessons at 13 and is one of the few people to have ever studied with jazz great Stanley Jordan. Mazzella moved to Sedona, Ariz., in January 1997. Later that year, he headlined the world-famous Blue Note in New York City and was showcased at the 1997 South by Southwest music convention, followed by a two-week tour of Texas. He recently completed a three month tour.
In tracking down Anthony, we called Stacy Lanson, a friend of Anthony's who submitted his CD for consideration in this article in a package boldly labeled: "This is it ... I have found your winner!" In our conversation, Stacy sold us on the finer points of both Anthony's talents and the city of Sedona. And listening to his CD The Birth, it's evident that Mazzella has absorbed that "natural energy said to be emitted from the Red Rock vortices," harnessed it, and embodied it in the dazzling compositions found on that disc. A master of the two-hand technique a la Stanley Jordan, and a student of innovators such as Michael Hedges, Tuck Andress, and Eddie Van Halen, Anthony Mazzella may someday soon be commonly included in that list of revolutionaries.
Gear: Anthony has two main guitars: his Fender Strat and a 10-string hybrid guitar/bass designed by Anthony and his father, Mario Mazzella, who built the zebra-wood beauty. It has separate bass and guitar pickups, with the signal from the bass pickups going to a bass amp, and the guitar signal going to a guitar amp.
Practice: Anthony comes across as a very disciplined musician, and this is clearly evident in his practice schedule. Whenever he's not touring, he practices five to seven hours a day, five days a week. While on tour, he cuts back, but as fellow feature-mate Joy Basu would say, "There's no substitute for live performance if you want to improve."
Influences: Anthony has a diverse list of influences, yet they all have one thing in common: They have all contributed significantly as innovators to the world of guitar. He lists Stanley Jordan (whom Anthony refers to as "the guitar player amongst no peers"), Michael Hedges, Eddie Van Halen, Tuck Andress, Will Ackerman, David Gilmour, Pat Metheny and Andrés Segovia as influencing the way he approaches the guitar.
Among other musical influences, Anthony credits his family with instilling the value of music. His grandfather played classical guitar, and Anthony remembers listening to his mother play music all of the time.
In His Own Words: Anthony's music is often called "electric fingerstyle" or "progressive instrumental", but Anthony describes it simply as "all styles arranged for solo guitar." He elaborates: "Ill take any style, from Native American or Indian to rock, heavy metal, jazz, or pop, and arrange it for a solo performance." Be sure to check out Mazzella's cover of U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" to gain a clear picture of his quite capable arranging skills.
Turning Point: "I began taking violin lessons when I was 5. Shortly after, I had to give a concert at the local auditorium. I remember having fantasies of giving this huge, grand violin concert, and knew from that moment hat I wanted to perform.
--Mike Mueller, Guitar One Magazine