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Julieta Eugenio - Jump (Greenleaf)

4 March 2022

The pandemic affected everyone – there’s no question about that (though plenty of denial). For artists, though, that pain often turned into beauty. That’s the case with Argentinian tenor saxist Julieta Eugenio, who composed the songs for debut album Jump in her Queens apartment before commuting to Connecticut to record with bassist Matt Dwonszyk and drummer Jonathan Barber. There’s a melancholy streak running through some of these tunes, even jaunty ones like “Flamingo,” “Tres” and “Efes,” which incorporate South American rhythms into the composer’s hard bop melodies. Given the weary sadness running through the ballad “For You,” one suspects it was more than just lockdown and lost opportunities for gigs that brought sadness to Eugenio’s life.

But this record is no litany of misery. The frisky “Raccoon Tune” and bebopping “Snowbirds” find joy in the simple things, like the daily appearance of animals outside of her window, while the energy-stacking “Another Bliss” implies that whoever broke Eugenio’s heart in “For You” may have been replaced. There’s a playfulness to the casual stroll of “Crazy He Calls Me,” a duet between Eugenio and Dwonszyk that indicates the title is accompanied by an eye-roll, rather than a shriek. The title track itself suggests optimism, with the idea of jumping forward into new situations and accepting new ideas. Add all of that to the trio’s open air sound, unburdened by oppressive chords that fill in the empty space between single line instruments, and Jump is no paean to sadness, but an ode to finding peace in most trying circumstances.