Mad Girls Swing

Mad Girls Swing
Juliana Espinosa

Rio Rico, AZ - Rio Rico High School senior Juliana Espinosa was one of seven girls selected to be the bassist in an 'all-girls' jazz video recording project by the Tucson Jazz Music Foundation.

The Tucson Jazz Music Foundation sponsored the musical collaboration in attempt to get young musicians together during a time of social distancing. “We weren’t able to hold another jazz music intensive this summer at Pima Community College, so we sponsored and coordinated the next best, and definitely hardest thing – a video recording project,” states Krystyna Parafinczuk, treasurer of the Tucson Jazz Music Foundation and project manager.

Each young musician had to practice and record their part for the video to a click track. Director Cynthia Hilts composed the original piece and sent it to Juliana to create the bass line. Juliana explained that “bass players usually have to create their own walking bass line. There’s no notes for us, nothing written in the music.” She said, “it sounds more complicated than it is. If they give you a random piece you have never seen before, you (bass players) have to immediately be able to play, based on the chords. The bass player adds the spark into the music.”

She said finding the right time to create, practice, record, in addition to her school work was a challenge. It took her two weeks to write and record her part. She said typically, “the rhythm section, bass drums, etc. have to play off the other players,” which she admitted made it more challenging because she had to write her piece first. “I couldn’t hear what everyone else was playing, I just had to play my part.”

Although she is not majoring in music after graduating, she wants music to always be a part of her life. She said, “the experience overall was so amazing. I felt so connected to the music, because I had to like, think deeper into the music since there was no one else around to play with.”

Krystyna Parafinczuk, Treasurer, Tucson Jazz Music Foundation said in an email to Rio Rico High Principal Hector Estrada, that “Juliana has a natural feel for the bass and did a great job.