Mary Jenson, Beyond
by: Constance Tucker
Mary Jenson comes from a background of diversity, which lends itself to the explorative side of jazz. Growing up as military child, which afforded her the opportunity to live in several locations, along with college studies at UNLV and experience behind a microphone at KFMB as a DJ along with a career in the financial industry which gave Jenson the ability to obtain success. Through her career accomplishment she was able to understand what it took to be highly successful. After an early retirement due to her successes in her business career, Jenson got back to basics and became solely focusing on her music career. Her sophomore release Beyond, is a jazz/world/pop fusion features 4 originals, 4 covers of contemporary pop songs and 3 jazz standards.
Kicking off the festivities is a Tom Waits classic “Temptation,” previously covered by Diana Krall, Jenson thankfully gives this song with many possibilities a new shine. Jenson’s ethereal and spacious version has the passion of Krall’s rendition, but she takes it far enough away from Waits version to actually make this cover unique and her own.
“Come Together,” best known and penned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Jenson gives this cut a grooving vibe that is reminiscent of Steve Miller’s “Joker” it is hip, cool and has a dab of Indian flavor. Continuing the eastern motif “Beyond” the title cut is riveting and draws the listener in with Jenson’s convincing vocal stylings. Jenson has a true and pure instrument and she uses it to convey compelling lyrics and inflections to convince the listener of every note.
“Anouman” is an embracing melody, one of Django’s last compositions. He recorded “Anouman” in January 1953. Jenson offers a compelling rendition; her vocals soar and are tender yet convincing. Reaching into her low tones, while creating breathy clarity, the listener cannot help but be infatuated with Jenson immediately.
Closing the disc is a fun ditty entitled; “Things My Mother Said” written by Frank Martin and Mary Jenson. The reminding theme throughout the cut is ‘Don’t Dish It out If You Can’t Take It’ well thank goodness Jenson is up for the job and delivers it with sincerity and technical prowess.
Beyond is an album filled with artistry and strong performances. An inspiring offering by a talented and limitless vocalist, Jenson has put together not only a journey beyond the ordinary, but a measure of what all vocalists should aspire to, worth the listen, and certainly worth the buy.