Violinist and vocalist Mazz Swift is one of the most dynamic, fearless, and fun musicians I've ever performed with. We first met ten years ago, at the now-defunct MAKOR in NYC. In a story she frequently likes to tell, Mazz was already a fan of my music, having picked up a copy of my first album at the also now-defunct bookstore/cafe THE READ in Williamsburg. She came to my MAKOR show to hear the quartet, and introduced herself to me after the show, dropping a mention that she played violin. Little did she know that Russell Farhang had left the band fairly recently, and I was scrambling to try to fill his shoes with a series of fiddling fill-ins. I asked Mazz for her number, and suggested we get together and play sometime.
It was a fortuitous meeting. I subsequently went to hear her perform with her then-musical partner Brad Hammonds at a little Irish bar in Murray Hill, and was impressed by the energy and focus of her improvisations, and the clean, vibrant tone she coaxed from her instrument. At a subsequent get-togther at her apartment in Hell's Kitchen, it took me all of five minutes to know that I could make music with this person. Some people just feel music the same way, ot at least in individual ways that complement and bolster the other, and that was the case with Mazz and me. I hired her for a gig, and we haven't looked back since. Here she is in a nice live clip of the band from a few years ago playing in Brooklyn:
Mazz is featured on a number of my albums, including LOOK AT ALL THIS! (where her backup vocals raise the roofbeams on "Best Is Yet To Come"), PERFORMS BOB DYLAN & THE BAND'S "BASEMENT TAPES" (which includes her gorgeous lead vocal on "I Shall Be Released"), THE WORLD WILL BE DIFFERENT (that's her furious, impassioned violin solo on "A Ghost"), and NO FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS (where she outdoes herself on second vocals on "Set Me Free" and leads the string quartet for almost all of the album).
Like most of the musicians who I'm lucky enough to have perform with me, Mazz is much more than a sideperson. She fronts a project of her own called MazzMuse, and is currently in the process of recording two new albums. You can read more about it here.
It's a thrill to make music with Mazz. I look forward to every gig that we do together, and I'm always inspired by the musical dialogue we engage in onstage. I love Mazz's passion, her humor, and her absolute presence when we're making music. Recently we played some duo shows together in New Orleans, which opened up some entirely new sonic possibilities and landscapes for us. It's a pleasure and an honor to call Mazz a part of my musical family. Here's one more look at her incredible talent, from her performance at Joe's Pub in NYC performing my song "Good Times" better than I ever could: