If you want to hear a world class bassist, then seriously consider Mary Ann McSweeney. Her sound on the upright bass is extremely deep and robust. Her technique and chops reveal a seasoned musician, yet her approach to the music on her new release is fresh and daring. Having performed with artists from jazz great Dizzy Gillespie to classical notables Leonard Bernstein and John Williams, her capabilities are not restricted by genre. She currently is one of a few bassists maintaining her own quintet. She has toured internationally, and one listen to the new recording will affirm why.
Seven of the compositions on Swept Away were written by McSweeney and demonstrate creativity and sound musicianship. The compositions encompass a mixture of fresh jazz mixed with post bop, modern, and global elements. Surrounded with an entourage of competent musicians, the music is filled with taut rhythms and exceptional solos. McSweeney’s bass is the life line of every selection. Whether walking the bass line with total control on “The Burner” or swinging gracefully on “Journey to the Center,” she commands total control of her instrument. Her solos have power, finesse, and lyricism.
The global element of the recording is decorated with familiar and exotic sounds. “Atheada” begins with oceanic sound effects surrounded by eclectic instruments such as the tanpura. The composition gracefully segues into “Siva’s Moon Dance” which showcases a nice sitar solo by guest artist Nana Simopoulos. The title piece features wonderful lyrics by vocalist Kate McGarry, and is just one of the gems on this stylized recording.