By Howard Mandel | Published May 2022
On her debut recording, tenor saxophonist Julieta Eugenio establishes an original, relaxed and ruminative approach. A native of Argentina who’s been studying and gigging in New York since 2013, Eugenio has the confidence as well as technical mastery to take it easy at mostly moderate tempi in the completely exposed format of a horn-bass-drums trio.
Her sound is rich and robust. She applies it thoughtfully, without hurry, neither pressing nor powering through her statements but rather taking an investigative stance, turning phrases over and around, probing and stretching them. The program includes two nicely selected standards (“Crazy” is a duet sans drums) and Eugenio’s original compositions, which comprise loose, appealing motifs that launch syncopated, open-on-all-sides interpretations from all three players.
Rather than flagwaving, Eugenio, bassist Matt Dwonszyk and drummer Jonathan Barber take pains to listen in to each other, evoking sensitive intimacy. A bass solo may incorporate themes by Monk and Parker as well as tricky, well-articulated fingerwork, but nothing Dwonszyk does compromises his strong intonation. Barber employs a fine touch and smart ears to produce a breadth of percussive colors.
The saxophonist often floats lovely curlicues over their settings, as gentle gestures or soft surmises. The threesome’s volume level doesn’t rise above six, but their collaborative efforts succeed in creating a warm, luxurious indolence suggestive of romance.
Jump: Efes; Jump; La Jungla; For You; Racoon Tune; Flamingo; Another Bliss; Crazy He Calls Me; Snowbirds; Tres. (60:06)
Personnel: Julieta Eugenio, tenor saxophone; Matt Dwonszyk, bass; Jonathan Barber, drums.
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