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Julieta Eugenio: Jump

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Julieta Eugenio: Jump
Aspiring jazz artists who pull up roots and make the "jump" to New York City have a lot of backbone. The uncertainty involved in the attempt to elbow into a hyper competitive situation which can boost a career must make for sleepless nights. For non-Americans, dealing with culture shock and struggling with the English language, things are even more challenging. But, in 2013, saxophonist Julieta Eugenio was undeterred, leaving her home in Argentina to make the pilgrimage that thousands have made before her.

With a degree from the Manuel de Falla Conservatory for Jazz Performance in hand, she furthered her studies stateside at the Aaron Copland School of Music of Queens College, while edging her way into the New York City jazz scene. In 2021, with that jazz scene in something of a hiatus due to Covid, Eugenio accepted an invitation from the Connecticut-based twosome bassist Matt Dwonszyk and drummer Jonathan Barber to: "Come on up here. We can play. Go for a hike. It will be fun."

The plan worked out well, resulting in the music on the saxophonist's debut recording, Jump—mostly Eugenio originals—which has a feeling of cool relaxation, a tranquility that comes perhaps from the escape from the frenetic big city.

The disc's opener, the Eugenio original "Efes" (in Spanish, plural for the letter 'f'), is a tune with a sense of searching. The sound has a bit of an edge, but also a feeling of a communal spirit of acceptance of what will be, to go along with a well lubricated camaraderie with Dwonszyk and Barber, a trio which sounds as if it has played together for ten years. Here and throughout, the music has an easy-going relentlessness; everybody has found their niche, and now it is just a matter of letting it roll—-it works with music, it works with life.

The title tune dips into a melancholy vibe, Eugenio's tenor tone is round and polished as she plays about sadness with an ever-present tint of the hopeful in it, while "La Jungla" represents "the intensity of living in New York," with some of the rough edges rubbed off the concrete jungle experience by, perhaps, her time with her trio mates in the more rural and verdant Connecticut.

Eugenio and company present two covers, and they are perfectly chosen—"Flamingo" and "Crazy He Calls Me," the latter written in 1949 and recorded by Billie Holiday, among others. Julieta Eugenio's version is a spare, soulful beauty of a tune—pared down perfection. .

Track Listing

Efes; Jump, La Jungla; For You; Raccoon Tune; Flamingo; Another Bliss; Crazy He Calls Me; Snowbirds; Tres.

Personnel

Julieta Eugenio: saxophone; Matt Dwonszyk: bass; Jonathan Barber: drums.

Album information

Title: Jump | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music

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