For The Record


Eugenie Jones
Open Mic Records, March 2022


On Players, Eugenie Jones’s new double album, the singer/songwriter and entrepreneur reveals the scope and breadth of her artistic vision. At a time when the pandemic continues to curtail travel, Jones invites listeners on a whirlwind tour across the United States with stops in four jazz hubs: New York City, Dallas, Chicago, and Seattle. The album also boasts an impressive cadre of 32 musicians, including jazz luminaries Julian Priester, Jay Thomas, Reggie Workman, and Bernard Purdie, along with rising stars Delvon Lamarr and Shaun Martin of Snarky Puppy. 

The material on Players is equally wide-ranging, from the uptempo swing of the Gershwins’ perennial classic “I Got Rhythm” to the soulful Meters-inspired funk of “But I Do” (one of 10 originals by Jones on the album). Several tracks in particular stand out: “Ey Brother”, a tribute to the legacy of the Central District’s storied Black & Tan club featuring tenor saxophone standout Alex Dugdale; “One More Night to Burn”, a simmering down-tempo lament reminiscent of Peggy Lee’s “Fever” and featuring stellar bass work by the great Lynn Seaton; the two tracks Jones recorded with the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio; and, especially Jones’s rendition of Nina Simone’s “Do I Move You?” which closes out the album. 

Jones is at her best when speaking directly to the personal journey that reconnected her with music later in life. Born into a family of singers in West Virginia, it wasn’t until the passing of her mother in 2008 that she found her musical calling. The journey hasn’t been easy, but as Jones reminds us in her poignant original, “There Are Thorns,” nothing worthwhile in life ever is: “If you’re looking for me/There will be thorns/But you’ll find me/Among the blooms.” 

The top-flight Dallas rhythm section (Shaun Martin, Lynn Seaton, Quincy Davis, and Jose Aponté) lay down an impeccable cha cha cha rhythm on this track that percolates just below the surface, allowing plenty of room for Jones to deliver her deeply personal and heartfelt message.  

The scope and breadth of Players ultimately reflects, and perhaps embodies, Jones’s many facets as a singer, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and legacy activist. Players gives us, as listeners, a glimpse into Jones’s world, a world where many rewarding moments await, “among the red rose blooms.”  

Players is independently produced and recorded on Jones’s own Open Mic Records label. The record is scheduled to release on March 11, followed by an album release show at the Royal Room on March 12. To stay up to date with Jones and her projects, visit eugeniejones.com.


Posted on

January 31, 2022