DC Jazz Festival Announces DCJazzPrix™ Finalists: Jalen Baker Quartet, Julieta Eugenio Trio, Akua Allrich & The Tribe
The DC Jazz Festival® (DCJF) today announced the three bands chosen as the 2022 DCJazzPrix™ Finalists, all of whom will perform Saturday, September 3, 2022 during the DCJazzPrix Finals at Union Stage, part of the 18th Annual DC JazzFest. The finalists are:
AKUA ALLRICH & THE TRIBE (Upper Marlboro, MD) Led by DC-born vocalist Akua Allrich, the band includes bassist Kris Funn, pianist-keyboardist Samuel Prather, and drummer Tyler Leak. Allrich’s style is fluid and ever evolving. Her musical roots run deeply into blues, soul and rhythm and blues, with a clear grounding in jazz and pan-African music. She sings in many languages including Portuguese, French, Spanish, English, Xhosa, and Twi. Given her ability to capture the essence of a broad range of musical genres, Allrich is often likened to legendary artists such as Oscar Brown, Jr., Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone. She has developed popular tribute programs involving the latter two women and other great African American women of jazz. Akua Allrich & The Tribe represent a magnetic Afro-centric multi-culturalism.
JALEN BAKER QUARTET (Houston, TX) Led by vibraphonist Jalen Baker, the Quartet includes Paul Cornish on piano, bassist Gabriel Godoy, and drummer Gavin Moolchan. Currently living in Houston, Jalen continues to compose and perform. His unique blend of original modern jazz compositions and jazz standards make for exciting live performances. As a band leader, Jalen has also been awarded the prestigious South Arts Jazz Roads Touring Grant. He has been the featured artist with various organizations such as the Savannah Jazz Orchestra, and Live Music Movement Houston. Jalen Baker represents somewhat of a renaissance of the vibes in jazz, joining his contemporaries Joel Ross and Chien Chien Lu in that regard.
JULIETA EUGENIO TRIO (Brooklyn, NY) Performing in the challenging trio setting sans a chording instrument, with Matt Dwonszyk on bass and drummer Jonathan Barber, tenor saxophonist Julieta Eugenio is one of the emerging tenor saxophonists. Originally from Argentina, Julieta moved to New York City almost a decade ago, and has put together a trio to present her music to the world! Her debut album, JUMP (Greenleaf Music), features eight original compositions as well some choice jazz standards performed with her trio that includes Dwonszyk and Barber. Julieta was born in Necochea (Buenos Aires) where she began studying music under the direction of Juan Carlos Gesualdi.
DCJazzPrix, an international competition created to recognize and support top emerging jazz band talent, was launched in 2016 and since then has received a rapidly growing and diverse applicant response. The Jury considered a highly competitive pool of applicants and evaluated these gifted emerging bands on their artistic quality and merit when selecting the finalists.
Each band will receive benefits associated with a major jazz festival performance opportunity, and the finalists will compete live during the DCJazzPrix Finals at the DC JazzFest at The Wharf. Audience response will be a factor in the Jury’s determination of the winner. Aside from gaining significant exposure, the winning band will begin a yearlong association with the DC Jazz Festival to include: a $15, 000 grand prize, customized business development and career impact services, extensive publicity training, and a highly visible 2022 DC JazzFest engagement with commensurate compensation.
"It is exciting to help ‘discover’ and promote the careers of emerging jazz artists committed to the creative and professional development of their excellent bands, ” said DC Jazz Festival CEO Sunny Sumter. “DCJazzPrix is unique in that it recognizes bands over soloists. It allows jazz artists to concentrate on band development on multiple fronts, increase performance opportunities, and sustain their collective output.”