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Mary Ann McSweeney: Swept Away

Mary Ann McSweeney offers an admirably catholic approach on her sophomore album Swept Away (Sparky1). The buoyant theme of her “Journey to the Center” leads to an ethereal “Atheada,” which in turn brings “Siva’s Moon Dance”-the latter two pieces featuring sitar player Nana Simopoulos, and conveying a jazz-meets-world energy somewhat evocative of another bassist-led ensemble, Ben Allison’s Medicine Wheel. Elsewhere McSweeney delivers a modal burner (called, in fact, “The Burner”) and a haunting, effective title track dedicated to the victims of September 11 (and featuring a beautifully stark vocal by Kate McGarry). The album’s ensemble effort is by no means undermined by its many strong individual contributions-saxophonist Donny McCaslin and trombonist Mike Fahn (McSweeney’s husband) deliver several memorable solos apiece. And McSweeney, whether driving hard in the rhythm seat or stepping out front and center, maintains her balance throughout.

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