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Davy Mooney Invents His Own Tradition

7-string guitarist gets a push from John Pizzarelli

Davy Mooney
Davy Mooney

As a seven-string guitarist, John Pizzarelli is the most visible practitioner in a small but accomplished lineage based in swing: players like pioneer George Van Eps, Harold Alden and, of course, Pizzarelli’s father, Bucky. The next link in the seven-string chain is, like Pizzarelli, a singer as well as a guitarist. But Davy Mooney, a 32-year-old native of New Orleans, plays in a far more modernist milieu than those forebears.

“It doesn’t really get as much attention, but there’s always been a strong modern-jazz counterculture in New Orleans,” says Mooney, who now resides in Brooklyn. “The seven-string guitar tradition came to me through people on that side-like Steve Masakowski, who was one of my teachers, and Hank Mackie. And there’s also the influence in New Orleans of Lenny Breau, who played a different kind of seven-string. So there was kind of a different tradition.” Mooney’s work also contains generous helpings of folk-rock, his first musical love; it can be heard seeping through the cracks on his fourth and latest solo disc, the Sunnyside release Perrier Street.

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