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Berkshires Jazz Presents the Mary Ann McSweeney Quartet, At The Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, May 13
Cabaret Concert to Feature McSweeney’s “Urban Fado” Project:
Original jazz interpretations of Portuguese music themes
Berkshires Jazz, Inc. is expanding its spring programming with a special concert of jazz interpretations of Portuguese music themes. Featuring the Mary Ann McSweeney Quartet, the “Urban Fado” program will take place on Saturday, May 13 at the Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave., Pittsfield, Mass., starting at 8pm.
Known for her jazz prowess as a leader and ensemble player, McSweeney is a first-call bass player on the New York scene, with several recordings to her name. Her group includes Jason Ennis on guitar, Todd Reynolds on violin, and Conor Meehan on drums, and will be augmented by special guests.
Fado originated in Portugal in the 1800s. Of Portuguese heritage herself, McSweeney said “the beautiful melodies of Fado resonated for me immediately. The sadness, the sigh of the voice, the story of fate told by the singer inspired me to compose music that is Fado.” McSweeney wrote much of the new music at home in Brooklyn, and so she named the repertoire the “Urban Fado Project.”
The music is heard in alleys, clubs and concert halls telling a story of the Portuguese people, she said. Her instrument, the string bass, brings a melodic and low supportive voice to the music. “I like to keep the form of the traditional Fado song, but I have also expanded it to leave room for improvisation. Musicians can layer their voice onto the form of the piece.”
A long-time jazz artist, McSweeney brings new grooves and new chord structures to the Fado form. “I want to bring a new voice and vibe to this music and share the cultural diversity it has to offer,” she said.
The intimate setting of the Whitney Center for the Arts lends itself well to this music, which will be presented in a cabaret setting. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 on the day of the event, and are available now at. Light snacks and beverages including beer and wine will also be available.
The event is sponsored by Berkshires Jazz, Inc., a non-profit organization whose twofold mission is to present jazz events and encourage jazz education in Berkshire County, western Massachusetts.
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