With her lavishly praised 2013 debut album Black Lace Blue Tears under her belt, late-blooming jazz vocalist and composer Eugenie Jones immediately faced questions about whether she was a one-hit wonder or a real contender. Sure, she displayed quick rhythmic reflexes, a silken tone, and real songwriting savvy, but did Jones have what it takes to go the distance, to sustain a career in jazz’s cruelly competitive ring.
Her even more impressive second album, Come Out Swingin’, makes a persuasive case for Jones’s status as a heavyweight talent. Seasoned by several years of steady work following the release of Black Lace, the Seattle-area singer displays the rhythmic authority, emotional insight, and melodic invention of an artist who can hold her own in any company.
“With Black Lace Blue Tears behind me I wondered, was that a fluke? Do I really have a gift, can I continue? Almost immediately I started writing again,” says Jones, “and put those questions to rest. This CD was a deliberate attempt to continue to grow and progress. I set that desire for improvement as a bull’s-eye to shoot for and kept that focus through each step of this project.”
Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award Winner
NW Vocalist of the Year
“Come Out Swingin’ is the second album from the Seattle based vocalist, Eugenie Jones. An appropriate title for an album where the rhythm section displays a relaxed but propulsive swing throughout. Jones’ deep & soulful voice eases the album in gently before the rhythm section bursts in to life. Jay Thomas has a muscular saxophone tone which he uses to fill the gaps in the rhythmically playful melody of Swing Me. Thomas’ solo is packed full of bluesy inflections, bringing an ear catching accessibility to the opening number. The piece climaxes with excitingly brief vocal and drum trades. A couple of familiar standards appear on the album. All of Me opens with a well phrased bass interpretation of the melody. Bye Bye Blackbird begins in the same way and is somewhat of a feature for bassist Clipper Anderson as the piano lays out of the track. The bass intro uses impressive double stopping before playing a solo which shows a great command of bebop language.
"Seattle-based vocalist Eugenie Jones may have been a latecomer to the jazz world, but she displays the seasoned sensibilities of a jazz lifer on her sophomore release, Come Out Swingin'. The follow-up to her well-received 2013 debut album, Black Lace Blue Tears, the album more than lives up to its title, showcasing Jones' smoke-and-satin vocals in settings that float like a butterfly and swing like a night at the Savoy. Beyond her instantly engaging vocals and sharp rhythm instincts, Jones also happens to be a topflight composer, penning both melodies and lyrics to tunes that are completely at home in the jazz idiom. She enlists a sharp group of musicians to back her up, including pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Clipper Anderson and drummer D'Vonne Lewis.
“In that overcrowded arena known as “female jazz singers”, Seattle-based Eugenie Jones manages to stand apart from the crowd. Ms. Jones has filled both of her outstanding albums with her own engaging compositions. This fact alone differentiates her as she is one of the very few African-American women singer-songwriters in jazz today. And finally, the lady can sing as well as she can write... Eugenie Jones has released two first-rate albums in the last three years and she is an intelligent, thoughtful composer in the tradition of Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone. Fans of true jazz singing, it’s time for you to sit up and take notice.”
Curt’s Jazz "Best of 2015"
Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award
2013 NW Recording of The Year
Black Lace Blue Tears..."This is an impressive debut recording by a singer who didn’t begin to work professionally until a few years ago. A West Virginia native who is now based in Seattle, Eugenie Jones brims over with confidence and authority. She sings a number of originals that are invested with aplomb and relish. Ennui, musical deconstruction, primal screaming, horn envy and emotional exhibitionism are not part of Jones’ musical vocabulary. Her strong suit is rhythm and swinging….Her medium-dynamic alto brings an unforced lyricisim to Paul Desmond’s “Take Five. 3.5 Stars”
"A debut release is usually feast or famine and to include nine originals is going all in on your talent. Something tells me the smart money goes on the success of Eugenie Jones and Black Lace Blue Tears.
.... full of passion and raw emotion and is that rare breed of artist that sidesteps pretentiousness and allows the music to take center stage. Highly entertaining! 4 Stars."
Singer Songwriter Entertainer
For starters, Jones possesses the wisdom to keep essentially the same battle-tested band in her corner, most importantly the incisive and consummately supportive pianist/arranger Bill Anschell. Veteran bassist Clipper Anderson and versatile guitarist Michael Powers also returned to action. Three new faces joined Jones’ line up this round. Seattle native, multi-instrumentalist horn man extraordinaire: Jay Thomas; drummer D’Vonne Lewis, a rising force on the Seattle scene who plays with tremendous poise and spirit and the incomparable percussionist, Ernesto Pediangco.
“I was looking for quality musicians and personalities that would mesh with my own,” Jones says. “Already having had great experiences with the other musicians, I added Jay for his enormous talent and newcomer D’Vonne Lewis for his smooth, yet intense playing ability.” In this high-energy swing project, it doesn’t take long for the musicians’ combustible chemistry to ignite.
Like her first album, Come Out Swingin’ focuses on Jones’s original songs. She announces her rhythmic agenda with the first track, “Swing Me,” a self-possessed celebration of unbridled desire. Her brief, exciting version of the standard “All of Me,” almost serves as a thematic preamble to her slinky “A Way About You,” a song that could easily be mistaken for a sophisticated piece of Bacharach/David. Jones cast a wide net when it comes to finding inspiration as a composer. She takes the smoldering up a notch with “Sweet Summer Love,” a song that emerged after watching Marvin Ritt’s moody and sweat-streaked 1958 film The Long Hot Summer, a kind of mashup of Faulkner and Tennessee Williams. Her love of cinema returns on “Rain Rain Don’t Go Away,” a seductive song about self-comfort that never lapses into self-pity. She’s at her most sleek and self-assured on “I’m Alright,” a soulful declaration of independence propelled by some tasty
D’Vonne Lewis samba-fused trap work.
Now playing..Sweet Summer Love
COME OUT SWINGIN'
Earshot Jazz Vocalist of the Year
Jazz Week Review Top-50
CMJ Charts #1
BLACK LACE BLUE TEARS
Winner Recording of the Year
"She's got the goods and it's the whole package--she sounds as fresh as tomorrow while simultaneously being as timeless as an analogue wrist watch. She writes, she sings, she swings, she's got hip, she's got wit, she's got depth and soul, and the lady looks great. And she's a jazz singer not just a singer singing jazzy. She brings an amazing broad and deep spectrum that mirrors jazz itself--"
There is a lot to admire about the Seattle-based singer Eugenie Jones....writes, sings, and swings with the best of Jazz singers. Her voice is smooth, silky and sweet. She has the uncanny ability to be aware of, and effortlessly master the vocal range where she operates. There is plenty of depth and soul in her being as evidenced on the new CD - Come Out Swingin and, the CD jacket has the lady looking “sweet-tough”, if there is such an appearance. ...Her original compositions here all tell great stories; real message music. She possesses the full package for a Jazz singer. Eugenie is in great shape on this latest release. Come Out Swingin' is a knock out. Listen!
“Eugenie Jones may be a newcomer to the active music scene, but the divorced mother of two teenage boys, who boasts an MBA and experience as a business consultant, is no newcomer to life. That’s why so many of the self-penned tunes on her debut recording bear the signs of personal authenticity.
On “I Want One,” she coos “When I go to bed at night I think about you/We haven’t met yet, but we’re long past due.” The sultry easy swingin’ blues ballad is guaranteed to raise the pulse rate of males at her club dates. For “Can You Dance?” a jaunty, up-tempo groover propelled by Clipper Anderson’s supple double-bass lines, Jones joyfully sings about a new joint downtown where she can feel “the rhythm of the bass walking up my spine.” On another of her nine originals – delivered in a rhythmically trippy style thanks to guitarist Michael Powers – Jones sums up how she deals with a romance gone bad, singing “I’ll be okay in a shot of tequila or two.”
A lady of many talents, Jones skillfully arranged five of the set’s tracks, including an invigorating read of the difficult “Take Five.” Pianist Bill Anschell, a particularly resourceful accompanist and crafty soloist, drummer Mark Iverster and bassist Anderson are a perfect fit for the singer’s 11-track coming-out party. Jones and her combo emerge as worthy flag-bearers for the Seattle area’s burgeoning jazz scene.
The singer’s keen sense of phrasing makes her extremely persuasive. Like a veteran horn soloist, she slides effortlessly from one octave to the next, always landing on the right, pitch-perfect note. A sly use of vibrato and reluctance to oversell the lyrics all add up to a vocal style that, while occasionally emotionally taut, is generally relaxed, flirtatious and easy to love."
"Seattle-based singer Eugenie Jones launches an impressive debut with Black Lace Blue Tears. Not only does Jones provide vocals for the project, she composed all but two of the songs (a couple of classic tune covers). It’s nice to hear a new artist creating new material that speaks in modern vernacular to contemporary issues........With this project as her start, it should be amazing to watch the continued rise of Jones as a songwriting and vocal talent."
The Jazz Page - Raves
Here’s a warm toned vocalist that shows an excellent hand at composing as well. Eugenie Jones, joined with Bill Anschell/p, Clipper Anderson/b, Mark Ivester/dr and Michael Powers/g delivers an album of impressive maturity. Her reading of standards like “Take Five” and “My Funny Valentine” prove that she has a flexible delivery, but her own songs come across even more attractive. A funny “In a Shot of Teaquila or Two” she mixes and matches English, Spanish and French as if she had too good a time, while “So Hard to Find” and the title track have her looking for love with a vulnerable heart. Finally, a woman addresses the issue of modern day man’s wimpiness, as she complains about being dumped via a text message, something many ladies can identify with, while “Sat’day Night Blues” has her recovered and ready for a good night out. Nice windup, delivery and follow through!
George W. Harris
"On her debut album, Black Lace Blue Tears, Jones flexes all of her creative muscles assembling nine originals and interpreting two standards, all at a high level. ...Jones proves she can compose in any vocal idiom infused with jazz, as shown on the Bacharach/David-tinged "A Good Day" or the Stevie Wonder-inspired "Can You Dance?" "All The Kings Men" possesses an "Angel Eyes" quality, minor key and smoky, while the title cut reflects Linda Ronstadt.
Jones' interpretation of Paul Desmond's "Take Five" uses the lyrics written by Dave and Iola Brubeck. She removes the odd meter element, smoothing the piece with a warm and liquid delivery. "My Funny Valentine" holds up well to her interpretation, surely the trillionth performance of such. Jones is both daring and naive to cover the time honored ballad, but capably pulls it off because of her sheer and fearless talent. It is difficult to hear Black Lace Blue Tears as a debut recording because of its refinement. It should be interesting to see how Jones develops from here."
"We always give extra points to anyone putting out a debut album on their own nickel that takes the trouble to hire people we've heard of. We're not snobs, there's a lot of good people out there fighting for a chance, but when you're taking a chance on yourself, the ground shifts. This Seattle songbird brought in a bunch of Seattle jazz cats that know the ropes and know their stuff making this set the whole package. Writing them as well as singing them, Jones is another in a series of songbirds that has been through other commercial realms on the way to her real passion, and all that singing into the mirror while getting ready for real world work pays off here. With a slate of original tunes written in a smart club vein rather than a radio vein, Jones and company know how to entertain. She even takes time out from her own composing to give a solid airing to the rarely heard Carmen McRae vocal version of "Take Five". A great new find, this is a jazz vocalist sure to impress all whose ears are turned/tuned to that direction. A winner throughout."
"..Eugenie Jones, a local singer, has a voice that covers words like pieces of silk covering precious stones. But she never overdoes it, never
overflows with emotion, never goes too high or too low, but always sings with a restraint that’s cosmopolitan, yet not soulless..."
"Hearing Eugenie Jones sing, it becomes almost impossible to believe she’s been doing it professionally for only two years. The businesswoman turned jazz chanteuse, who as a child sang in the church choir her father directed, has so much control over her voice, handling both high and low notes with immense care, that she’s nothing short of a seasoned pro.
AZARIA C. PODPLESKY
Now playing..Sweet Summer Love
COME OUT SWINGIN'
Earshot Jazz Vocalist of the Year
Jazz Week Review Top-50
BLACK LACE BLUE TEARS
NW Recording of the Year