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Mary Ann McSweeney: Thoughts of You

A California-born musician who has lived in New York since 1993, Mary Ann McSweeney’s impressive debut album as a leader, Thoughts of You opens on a personal note. The song “R.B.’s Tribute,” a study in relaxed energy, is a respectful nod to her mentor, Ray Brown, and it was co-written by her husband, valve trombonist Mike Fahn, who proceeds to show why he’s a player deserving wider recognition. To be sure, McSweeney is herself a solid player of no small gift, with a rich tone and a confident sense of what goes where. On the album, she also shows her vision as a leader, and has assembled a fine, flexible group of allies, including saxophonist Donny McCaslin, drummer Tim Horner and percussionist Joe Mowatt. Her own originals include the introspective title song, the pensive “Winter on the Bay” and a medium-heat “Nana’s Tango.” Imagination runs loose on this album. “You Don’t Know What Love Is” appears as a hip waltz. “Amazing Grace” is radically revised, first with the fast groove she copped from Jaco Pastorius’ “Teen Town” and with a ripe Fender Rhodes solo by Henry Hey that makes a persuasive case for the blend of electro-acoustic textures.

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