Ricky Sweum is a sensational Jazz artist based in the California Bay Area. He is predominantly a saxophonist and band leader for the US Air Force Band and we have been lucky enough to review his latest release, ‘Earth Song’.
The opening song ‘Watermelon Power Generator’, is an excellent representation of what is to come on this record. We hear multiple wind instruments throughout the track, each playing their own parts. These are completely separate from one another but they come together to work as one cohesive piece. There are wonderful moments of harmonies and melodic genius to be devoured. The bass and drums work as a solid backbone accompaniment for the piece and create a template for the saxophone to shine. The sax riffs soon become recognisable and are consistently interesting, thought-provoking and engaging throughout the piece.
‘Earth Song’ is the compelling title piece. It features strong yet gentle female vocals which carry a message of peace and unity. With times as they are in the world today, these are two things which we are in desperate need of. The lyrics are thoughtful and heartfelt and in particular the lyric, “Let the madness cease” deeply resonated with us. The saxophone is very impactful on this song and takes on a role which is equally as moving as the vocals. We adored the part where the sax and piano are vibing along with one another. Together they create a magical wonderland filled with character and enchantment. Blissful.
We adored the song ‘Radiance’ because it has an unexpected genre cross over into a jazz blues hybrid. The song is filled with unexpected melodies and twists and turns throughout. ‘Energy Dance’ is the shortest song on the album but it packs a big punch from beginning to end. The staccato piano and bass create a wonderful platform for the saxophone to dance over the top of – which it does in style.
The closing song, ‘Expansiveness’ sees the addition of synths to the musical family. It is a beautiful piece which has a different feel and new direction to the rest of the album. It made us wonder, is this the direction Sweum’s next album will take? We can’t wait to find out!
It is clear that Sweum is an excellent musician and composer. He plays all of the saxophone parts on the record and they are filled with luscious melodic performances which are relatable and sensational throughout. ‘Earth Song’ was also produced by Sweum. He has achieved a high quality sounding record with songs which could easily be used for placement in TV, Film and/or games.
Make sure you check out this wonderful artist today.
Reviewed by FVReviews December 2018