The last we heard from Seattle-based Renaissance woman Eugenie Jones was on her quite excellent debut recording Black Lace Blue Tears (Self Produced, 2013). On that recording Jones demonstrated great accomplishment as a vocalist, composer, and arranger. She was in the process of transitioning from a successful marketing career to a singer. That kind of change is not for the faint of heart.
Jones returns with Come Out Swinging, a collection of tunes as different from those on Black Lace Blue Tears as they are alike. Returning with most of her band from her debut intact (pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Clipper Anderson, and guitarist Michael Powers), Jones exchanges drummer Mark Ivester for the present D’Vonne Lewis. Multi-instrumentalist Jay Thomas and percussionist Ernesto Pediangco round out this new band, opening Jones' warm, full vision to the bright sunshine.
Jones contributes the majority of the songs to this disc, including the taut and muscular "Swing Me" and the deliciously humid and voluptuous "Sweet Summer Love." "24/7" is a high-octane pop highball cautious tale of what it takes to appeal to her. Anderson's groove is immediately infectious with Anschell soloing piquantly. "Rain Rain Don't Go Away" is a comfort music for solitude. Jones sings of the grace of quiet of alone...at least until Anderson and Lewis establish a nose-bleed inducing swing and Jones decides to show what she is creatively made of. Anschell, again, solos with intense empathy, buoyed by an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the jazz piano.
There is nothing standard about the standards Jones chooses. "All of Me" bounces and "Bye Bye Blackbird" give feature to Anderson's expert timekeeping and Jones' precise phrasing. Jones proves a capable scat singer, never overdoing it. Reaching way back to "Begin the Beguine," Jones turns in a beautifully straight performance of the Artie Shaw classic, properly accented by Ernesto Pediangco's conga playing and Jay Thomas' trumpet and saxophone parts.
Jones' ends thing with a seething "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" featuring Michael Powers' sinewy guitar playing. The arrangement is as tight as a drum and sharp as a Philly Joe rim shot. Jones turns the heat up...way up with a sweet, steeping honey delivery to make one's mouth go dry and clothes fit too tight. Eugenie Jones has come fully into her own with Come Out Swinging.
Swing Me; All of Me; A Way About You; Sweet Summer Love; 24/7, I’m
Alright/Samba Ending; I Could Get Lost in Your Eyes; Rain Rain Don’t
Go Away; Bye Bye Blackbird; Begin the Beguine; Run Devil Run; It’s a
Man’s Man’s Man’s World.
Eugenie Jones: vocals, arrangements; Bill Anshell: piano,
arrangements; Clipper Anderson: bass; D’Vonne Lewis: drums; Jay
Thomas: trumpet, tenor saxophone; Michael Powers: guitar; Ernesto