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It's all about the players for Eugenie Jones' latest album

Album cover for "Players"
Steve Korn
courtesy of the artist
Album cover for "Players"

Eugenie Jones' third album, "Players," took four years and connections in four different cities to come to fruition. It's her best yet.

Eugenie Jones is fond of the saying, "Steel sharpens steel." In other words, to reach your full potential, work with and learn from the best in your business.

Not that Jones needs to learn much from anyone. She's already an accomplished vocalist, songwriter and arranger, along with being a busy, highly skilled marketer, producer and community activist.

Jones is the founding board president of the Music Discovery Center and also serves as the executive producer of the Jackson Street Jazz Walk, the annual block party that commemorates Seattle’s historic African American music history and artists.

Most recently, with legendary Crusaders drummer Stix Hooper, Jones was co-executive producer of the Celebrating Ernestine Anderson Tribute Series, honoring the life and legacy of Seattle-based international jazz/blues icon Ernestine Anderson.

Collaborating with 32 top-notch jazz musicians from Seattle, Dallas, Chicago and New York for "Players" brought Jones an opportunity for all of her talents to shine.

Jones wrote 10 of the 15 songs on "Players" and worked with the musicians to write fresh arrangements for the five jazz standards.

“I had a concept of what I wanted to do, but it kind of developed as it went along,” says Jones. “I wanted to be in the presence of those kinds of artists and learn and grow. It started with trombonistJulian Priester, who has musical connections everywhere. Through him, I met bassist Reggie Workman, and Reggie is the one who introduced me to drummer Bobby Sanabria."

Workman also provided introductions to Chicago-based musicians like bassist Lonnie Plaxico, who became the mentor and coach for the Chicago recording session and worked with Jones on song arrangements.

“For someone like Lonnie, who has such an immense career and such a huge talent, to see something of value in me, and say, ‘Hey, I want to bring you alongside and help you be better in the process’ is a treasured moment,” Jones recalls. “I have a lot of treasured moments that happened as a result of this recording. Those are the things that, when I'm a little old lady sitting in front of my TV, I’ll remember and smile about.”

Listen for "As Long As" from the album "Players" on KNKX Midday and Evening Jazz.

Join Eugenie Jones at the Royal Room in Seattle for the "Players" CD release party, with pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, drummer Quincy Davis and percussionist Bobby Sanabria on March 12; early show at 6 p.m. and late show at 8 p.m.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.