Mimi Jones: Suite Mary
Mimi Jones (bass)
A New Day (Hot Tone 101)
Composed by Miriam Sullivan.
Recorded: Englewood, NJ, Dec. 12, 2007 & May 9, 2008
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
A New Day is the debut CD from bassist Mimi Jones, formerly known by her real name, Miriam Sullivan. As Sullivan, she has backed a number of well-known jazz artists, including Rachel Z and Joanne Brackeen at Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festivals at the Kennedy Center. Being a female bassist who also sings, the comparisons to Esperanza Spalding are sure to come for Jones. However, Jones' simple, New Age type lyrics for most of her originals are distracting and diminish the effectiveness of these selections.
For that reason, the instrumental "Suite Mary"--dedicated to Mary Lou Williams--stands out. The track is also buttressed by a shining guest appearance by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmisure, the promising winner of the 2007 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Competition. The piece essentially consists of three sections each introduced by a separate theme, the first funky and riff-based, the second more legato and ethereal, and the third Caribbean-flavored with an allusion to "Shortnin' Bread." Akinmusire's pure, full-bodied tone accentuates these melodies, and his fresh, confident solo is regrettably short. Keyboardist Miki Hayama's exploration is soothingly voiced and thematically focused, while guitarist Marvin Sewell's guitar work ranges from pensively melodic to bluesy and wailingly forthright. A return to the second theme and a melancholy interlude are followed by an energetic, uplifting finale. This absorbing, multi-textured, well-arranged work truly shows Jones' potential more than any other on the CD.
Reviewer: Scott Albin