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Mimi Jones: Balance

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Mimi Jones: Mimi Jones: Balance How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Balance is one of three new titles released in February 2014 by Hot Tone Music, the label founded by bassist/vocalist Mimi Jones
Mimi Jones
Mimi Jones

bass
. "Hot Tone Music was created to give chances to those who may have been overlooked and denied the necessary support and knowledge to develop," Jones explains. "Women are a big part of that group, and so I always look out for them. Women have come a long way but are still a minority in jazz, so we've formed a network of sorts where we can call on each other for support and recommendations." (Along with Jones' Balance, saxophonist Camille Thurman
Camille Thurman
Camille Thurman
b.1986
saxophone
debuts with Origins and drummer Shirazette Tinnin with Humility: Purity of My Soul. Jones, Thurman and Tinnin all perform on each others' releases, too.)

"As it is a great desire of mine to free myself of remembering that we are 'women in jazz' instead of musicians, we are still in times where it remains seen as 'special' for women to be really doing it—and doing it well."

The ambitious and far-ranging Balance leaves little doubt that Jones is "really doing it—and doing it well." Electric guitar and piano patrol the borders of "Patriot"—"a dedication to all the soldiers that put themselves on the frontline and what they must endure," she explains—while bass and drums detonate explosive rhythm changes. "The Edge of a Circle" features beautifully blue trumpet by Ingrid Jensen, and the rhythmic interplay between Jones' bass and percussionists Tinnin and Justin Faulkner, behind Miki Hayama's piano, intuitively flows in the same way that Scott LaFaro
Scott LaFaro
Scott LaFaro
1936 - 1961
bass
and Paul Motian
Paul Motian
Paul Motian
1931 - 2011
drums
painted shades of rhythm behind Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
. Rolling along Jones' bass and Faulkner's drums, and riding Luis Perdomo
Luis Perdomo
Luis Perdomo
b.1971
piano
's sparkling but soft keyboard solo, "Junk Funk" sounds like anything but junk.

Thurman's flute and vocal float through Jones' warm and colorful arrangement of Roy Ayers
Roy Ayers
Roy Ayers
b.1940
vibraphone
's hit single "Everybody Loves the Sunshine." Her rearrangement of "Someone Like You" (Adele) moves from brooding to bold, like Jill Scott
Jill Scott
Jill Scott
b.1972
vocalist
or Alicia Keys pulling apart and then putting back together its tune.

Jones began to add singing to her bass playing several years ago: "I was hearing melodies and it hit me: I could sing the melody and play the bass part at the same time," she recalls. Her voice serve as spirit guide for her originals "Traveler" and "To Be," which her bass line swings from a simple rhythm to the edge of funky.

The closing "Dream" features Mala Waldron
Mala Waldron
Mala Waldron

vocalist
, herself a bandleader (and daughter of famous jazz pianist and composer Mal Waldron
Mal Waldron
Mal Waldron
1926 - 2002
piano
), who intertwines her vocal with Jones' to sing, "It's a long road without a guarantee, but keep reaching for your dream." After listening Balance, you suspect that Jones knows about long roads, and about dreams.

Track Listing: Nothing Like You; Traveler; Speedbump; The Incy Wincy Spider; The Spinning Tree; Patriot; Someone Like You; To Be; The Edge of a Circle; Everybody Loves the Sunshine; Junk Funk; Dream.

Personnel: Mimi Jones: bass, vocals; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet; Camille Thurman: flute, vocals; Luis Perdomo: piano, Wurlitzer organ, Fender Rhodes, Moog; Enoch Smith, Jr.: piano; Miki Hayama: piano, Wurlitzer organ, Fender Rhodes; Marvin Sewell: guitar, piano; Sean Harkness: guitar; Shirazette Tinnin: drums, percussion; Justin Faulkner: drums; Mala Waldron: vocal.

Record Label: Hot Tone Music

Style: Modern Jazz


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