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'When The Bus For The Record Label Comes By': Behind Hot Tone Music

February 09, 2014 6:00 AM ET
Camille Thurman (left), Mimi Jones (center) and Shirazette Tinnin all released new albums this week on Hot Tone Music, Jones' record imprint.

Camille Thurman (left), Mimi Jones (center) and Shirazette Tinnin all released new albums this week on Hot Tone Music, Jones' record imprint.

Courtesy of the artist

This past week, the bassist and vocalist Mimi Jones released three albums at once. They weren't all her music, but they were her work: As the founder and producer of the record label Hot Tone Music, she brought all three albums to fruition.

Jones has been on the New York City scene for nearly two decades; Balance is her second album as a bandleader. Her labelmates, however, are newer to the area. Drummer Shirazette Tinnin recently moved east after years in Chicago; her new album is called Humility: Purity of My Soul. Born in 1986, saxophonist and vocalist Camille Thurman is a native of the city, but only decided to pursue music full-time after earning a college degree in Geological and Environmental Sciences; her new album is called Origins. Both Tinnin and Thurman are putting out their debut recordings.

Hot Tone Music is not a collective — each artist brought her own individual concepts and performing career to the table. But having pulled together Kickstarter campaigns and cutting package deals with publicists, recording engineers, photographers and graphic artists, Hot Tone Music is a collectively operated enterprise. "In a sense, this release is sort of a celebration that if you can come together as a community, you can get it done, and everybody wins," Mimi Jones told me over the phone.

Pictured together, the three bandleaders also cut a striking profile: All three are black female instrumentalists, curiously among the least visible intersections of today's jazz community. Wondering if this was a conscious decision — and about the modernity heard on all three records — I gave Jones a call to talk about her fledgling label and her music. We discussed the origins of Hot Tone, her first big break and the lingering issues around "Women in Jazz." 

Patrick Jarenwattananon: In your own words, why did you decide to start this label?

Mimi Jones: Basically, in the last few years, I had been approaching a few different labels and getting denied. For a musician, that's kind of hard, because we look for opportunities to present our art, and we look to use our art as our livelihood. So it's really important. It's not just like, 'Wow, I got signed!' It's a big deal, and so a lot of effort goes into that.

I just got tired of that, and I thought, 'It's gonna be half a century until I get signed!' So I just realized, you have all the resources that you need to do it, you just need the energy, and need to ask for help and get up and do it.

One of the most salient features is that the three artists that you've chosen to present all at once: Not only are they all women, but they're kind of a demographic minority within the [contemporary] jazz community, being black female instrumentalists, largely. Was that conscious?

Um, I feel like it was a dual consciousness? The way it came about was that they were just my friends. And I have friends of all nationalities, but those two had reached out for my help. Shirazette had just graduated from [Northern Illinois University] and moved to New York with her Master's degree. She wanted to do more jazz, and she wondered how she could get on the scene and become more popular. The same with Camille: She had just graduated from [SUNY-Binghamton] with a geology degree or something, and she decided she wanted to pursue music, and she was asking, 'How do you do this?'

And for a long time I would just have them over for dinner — musicians never turn down food — so we would sit around and talk about what they needed. And when it got to the part that, 'You need a record — that's your passport. No one wants to know anything [about you] unless you have something to show for it that looks good and sounds good.' And because I had just done it myself, I felt like, 'I could just tell you everything you need to do, and I could come in the studio and help you.' ... I actually asked them, 'Would you like to be on this label?' And they were like, 'We would love to do it.'

So that's how it happened. It wasn't like, 'OK, I'm gonna pick two black women instrumentalists.' And actually, there were some guys who were involved, as well, but their CDs weren't done in time.

But on the flip side, part of the label is based on my story. You may have someone who is a star — not to toot my own horn! — but they go unnoticed because either the timing, maybe it was a bad day, maybe no one showed up to their show and other people looked at that and said, 'No, that's not as important.' The media is so strong today: If you don't have people screaming and Twittering and a ticker-tape parade behind you, people don't really take the time. People are all busy; they're all trying to get the same nut, so what's the big deal about you? So it's important to me that we take the time to realize that there are so many amazing, bad-ass musicians that — they're quiet. They deserve a chance, but maybe they weren't loud enough when the bus for the record label came by. They didn't see them, and they splashed water on them, and they didn't even notice them.

Camille is a perfect example of that. I only found out her vocal gift just because we were playing for AIDS patients — we had this gig down in lower Manhattan. I asked her to do a duo with me — you know, bass, and I sing, and she was playing saxophone. This one day, I was like, 'Camille, do you think you could sing a background line for me?' And I hummed it to her, and she looked at me like, 'I don't know...' When it was time to do the show, she did it, and I was like, 'I don't even know this kid. Who is this?' She got a standing ovation. The reason I tell you they were sick patients is because they got out of their wheelchairs and stood up for her. I was like, 'Camille, c'mon, really? You're walking around with that gift, and no one knows? And you have no money, and you can't even get a Metrocard? C'mon now!' 

Not to harp on this point, but do you feel that the people you've chosen to present here suffer from any structural things that prevent them from being seen "when the record label bus comes calling," as you've said?

I don't know that it would in the future. I just know that at the moment that they came to me, they hadn't had the support they needed. Whether you're a woman or a man, there should be more places.

Women definitely fit in the category of being overlooked. You know, I participate in it, I'm not going to say I'm not a hypocrite; when March comes and it's 'Women in Jazz' month, I take the 'Women in Jazz' gigs. I do that because, in a sense, I have to. We're still in a position that just because you sound good, it's not enough. That doesn't guarantee that you're going to get that gig. Nine times out of 10, you're not going to get it. You have to have something that absolutely stands out, ridiculous — you can't be an average player and feel like you're going to get it before a guy gets it. I see it every day.

I don't mean to throw guys under the bus, but they're my friends, so I'll ask them: 'Whatchu made for that gig?' And they'll tell me, and it's substantially different than a woman who would try to get the same gig. ... It's not, 'Just because you're a woman, you deserve this.' That's totally not what I want to promote. You definitely have to hold your own, and you have to be the best person for the job. But beyond that, there needs to be more opportunities that we don't have to have 'Women in Jazz' month. But we're not there yet. 

Mimi Jones.

Mimi Jones.

Courtesy of the artist

I want to go back to your history a little bit. I know you went to LaGuardia [New York City's arts magnet high school], Manhattan School of Music. There's this great story that you were actually on tour during your [college] graduation?

Yeah. I got called to play in a band with a Japanese saxophonist named Masa Wada. In the group was this phenomenal drummer who — I didn't really know who he was at the time, and I was a little afraid because I noticed he'd partake in drugs. I don't know if he was an ex-drug-addict, or what the thing was. In any case, that was my first trip out of the country, my first big gig. And things weren't as organized as I would've dreamed. So I was in the real world.

Come to find out the drummer turned out to be Denis Charles. He's played with so many amazing people [Cecil Taylor, Sonny Rollins, Steve Lacy]; he's a master in his own right. He's passed now, but he became my best friend. I learned so much about not judging people by their cover. He told me stories about Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis because he was there. ... I was out there for, I think it was a two-month trip. So I learned about Japanese food, I learned about the smell of Japan, learned about being in a country where you don't see too many of your color. And how amazing the Japanese culture actually is. 

Right on. I'm asking because — if I do the math correctly, that was the mid-'90s or so. It seems like the scene has changed a lot since then, where it's harder to get a gig like that right out of school these days. Did that have any role in why you decided to put this together?

Yes, it does. You're right on it. I want to create opportunities — where the door is closed, we need to come together to find another opening. ... We don't take no for answers. This whole label, this whole movement, or whatever you want to call it is an example of how we just have to be creative. Who knew that we would get where we are, where NPR is calling me for an interview? I get kind of choked up about it. Somebody might say, 'It's not even a Grammy, why you actin' like that?" But for me it is, because coming from 'no,' from nothing... When Camille first started, we paid people to come to see her play. We created a situation for her. They didn't know that. But now, she gets paid to play.

Of course, I want to talk about your record itself. It's called Balance, and I hear a very diverse-sounding record. If there is a defining aesthetic, there are a lot of different sounds, a lot of different guests. Is that something you're going for with this release?

OK, I'm gonna be honest, Patrick. I tried to do a straight-ahead record. I said, 'I'm gonna have a straight-ahead record, and I'm going to have a core band.'

When I started writing for this album, some other stuff was coming out. I got the straight-ahead stuff to come out, but some other stuff was coming out. And I tried to put that aside, maybe not for this record. And I allowed the natural, organic motion to overtake me, instead of my mental, the logical, 'I said I'm gonna do a straight-ahead record.' What I'm realizing is that my sound is actually a combination of sounds. So I don't hear it just straight-ahead or tradition. I just hear music. I didn't want to deny what was coming out, and I saw a common thread, and I felt like I was able to weave it together to make sense.

The whole thing about "balance" comes not from a musical sense, but what I was dealing with in my life. My money wasn't right; I was kind of having a hard time in life about two or three years ago. Hurricane Sandy happened. There were a lot of wars going on — inner wars. It was a rough time. ... I wanted to be real about where I was in that moment. If you listen to "Patriot," I wrote that for the soldiers who were coming home, and still out there, who were dealing with this horrible thing that they're put into, but it's their job. They have to be be soldiers on one hand, and brave for their country — they're patriots. But inside, they don't feel right about what they're doing. They actually come back, they need therapy. To kill a whole village, c'mon, some of them have kids, that's emotional. So the song couldn't be pretty — the screeching guitar was definitely the sound of crying and a lot of tension.

I decided that I wanted to present the fact that if you don't experience the bad — in that time, too, I was having health problems where I couldn't walk, I was going through excruciating pain — you don't really know when you have it good. ... So I wanted this record to present that whole thing. Not to be preachy in any kind of way, but just to express the fact that we need the beauty and the ugly to appreciate both sides.

That's kind of a far cry from deciding to make a straight-ahead record.

I know! I tried, I swear.

Jazz Times

Mimi Jones: True Moments

Struggle and survival inform bassist and singer’s latest

by John Murph

04/25/14

Carmen Lundy, Mimi Jones, Tia Fuller, Patrice Rushen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Sweet Baby J'ai and LInda Taylor
Photo By Pat MunsonDsc_0329_depth1

Mimi-jones_bass_leaves_hires-1_depth1Photo by Myo Campbell

  

In 2012, bassist and singer Mimi Jones faced hard times. Gigs dwindled, loved ones died, health problems arose. She was experiencing the very opposite of the optimism that surged through her 2009 debut, A New Day. When financial challenges nearly quashed the completion of her new disc, Balance (Hot Tone), the mounting pressures humbled her into reaching out to friends for assistance. “As a proud black woman, I had to let my ego down and say, ‘I need your help,’” says 41-year-old Jones, a longtime member of saxophonist Tia Fuller’s all-female quartet. “Hope started coming back in. I realized that in order to appreciate the good times, you need the bad times. I found this midpoint where everything kind of settled.”

That midpoint serves as the central theme of Balance. She confronts her existential crisis on “To Be,” singing the lines, “Am I choosing to live/Or am I choosing to die?” through gauzy sonic filters. “I was going through a living hell. I woke up and sang that song right out of my bed. I literally tracked [the vocals] that way and kept it,” Jones recalls. “That’s a documentation of a true moment.”

“Dream” tells of another trying time. Jones dedicates the song to Israeli pianist Shimrit Shoshan, who died suddenly at age 29 of cardiac arrest in 2012. After playing with Shoshan at the 2009 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Competition, Jones became something of a mentor to her. The gentle ballad features Mala Waldron’s soulful vocals and a pithy upright bass solo that showcases Jones’ warm, full-bodied tone.

Balance exhibits brighter moments too, such as Jones’ sanguine treatment of Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” and her inventive take on the children’s song “Incy Wincy Spider.” The album begins with a dazzling rendition of “Nothing Like You,” an obscure Bob Dorough/Fran Landesman tune featured on Miles Davis’ 1967 LP The Sorcerer. Jones’ rendition acts as a showcase for her arco technique before launching into a delightful mid-tempo trio excursion featuring drummer Justin Faulkner and her piano-playing husband, Luis Perdomo.

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, who featured Jones on her The Mosaic Project from 2011, applauds Jones for her “old-school” approach to playing bass. That approach comes from lessons Jones received from Ron Carter, Lisle Atkinson and Milt Hinton while growing up in the Bronx and attending the Manhattan School of Music. “She deeply understands the role of her instrument to support others, and she supplies the necessary bedding for all to dance, fall, walk, stumble or groove on,” Carrington explains.

“I was definitely schooled by some masters, who let me know that tone is the very first thing that people are going to hear,” Jones adds. “If you got a bad tone, people are going to run. The bassist’s tone sets the atmosphere for the band. Rhythmically, I think like a drummer. I like breaking up the time. But I also have to support the musicians, because that’s my job. If I break up the rhythm, it’s to push the music to a new height.”

Jones beguiles as a singer as well, especially on her smoldering makeover of Adele’s “Someone Like You” and her original “Traveler.” She possesses an espresso-flavored alto that recalls Joan Armatrading, and describes her own slightly idiosyncratic singing as “completely organic. I discovered that it was different from the average singer. I actually battled with that for many years,” she says. “I wanted to sing, but I didn’t think of myself as a singer.”

Before Jones launched her solo career, she used her birth name, Miriam Sullivan, and played with such jazz titans as Kenny Barron, Ravi Coltrane and Lionel Hampton. She crafted the alter ego in 2009 as a way of reinventing herself after another challenging period in her life. “I created Mimi so I could become her and let go of all the heavy things associated with being Miriam,” she explains. “You can’t be completely intense all the time with people because sometimes it’s overwhelming for them. [Listeners] need you to help release them from their own intensity.”

Step Tempest

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hot Tone Music Indeed!

Hot Tone Music is a label based in Brooklyn, New York, and has just issued 3 CDs (on the same day - 2/04/14) featuring the music of Mimi Jones, Camille Thurman and Shirazette Tinnin.  Ms. Jones (bassist, composer and vocalist) produced her own recording and is listed as co-producer on the others (and plays on Ms. Tinnin's disk.)

Mimi Jones (real name - Miriam Sullivan) has been on the music scene for over 2 decades.  Since graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Ms. Jones (who started on cello before moving to acoustic bass) has worked with Roy Hargrove, Tia Fuller, Kenny Barron, Terri Lynn Carrington and is currently a member of drummer Rudy Royston's "303" Septet.  "Balance" is her second CD as a leader (her debut "A New Day" was issued by Hot Tone in 2009) and finds her leading an ensemble that features Enoch Smith Jr. (piano), Luis Perdomo and/or Miki Hayama (keyboards), Justin Faulkner and/or Ms. Tinnin (drums) and guests that include Ms. Thurman (flute, voice), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Marvin Sewell (guitar, piano), Sean Harkness (guitars) and vocalist Mala Waldron, daughter of the late Mal Waldron.

The 80-minute program opens with the straight-ahead swing of Bob Dorough's "Nothing Like You" - Ms. Jones' articulate bass lines lead Faulkner and Perdomo in, after the trio states the melody, the leader takes the first solo. The following track, "Traveler", is the first of 7 Jones' original compositions (she co-wrote 2 of the pieces). Her solid electric bass lines over the pounding toms of Ms. Tinnin give way to the leader's finely-hewn vocals.  Solid solos from pianist Ms. Hayama (the bassist played on her 2004 debut CD) and guitarist Sewell are intense but do not boil over.  Ms. Jensen makes the first of her 2 appearances on the up-tempo "Speedbump", dipping and soaring over the splashing piano chords (Perdomo) and the forceful drive of Ms. Jones and young Mr. Faulkner (Branford Marsalis Quartet, Kurt Rosenwinkel); the piece slows down in the middle for a sparkling solo turn from Perdomo. The bassist's take on the children's classic "The Incy Wincy Spider" (often heard as "The Itsy Bitsy Spider") opens in rubato mode, with bowed bass, hand-held percussion, impressionistic piano chords and a dramatic vocal.  After the first verse, the piece pivots 180 degrees to become a swinging romp.

The program never settles into one particular pattern (a good thing), which is one should expect from a person who has multiple influences.  Ms. Jones shares the spotlight, anchors the music, and she delivers vocals that are honest, without pretense. Pianist Smith's arrangement of Adele's "Someone Like You" is quite pretty, with fine percussion from Faulkner and country-flavored guitar work from Harkness. Ms. Waldron adds her voice to Ms. Jones' on the final track, "Dream", an inspirational lyric that reminds us to "keep reaching for our dreams." The blend of the 2 vocalists is soulful and smart, a strong ending to the CD.

The issue with such a long recording is that few people will sit through this in one sitting (yes, some of us still do that) but "Balance" is worth your time.  Mimi Jones has created an intensely personal statement that invites all to partake and is, in the end, an uplifting experience.  Take your time with this music and you will be rewarded.  For more information, go to www.mimijonesmusic.com.


Camille Thurman began studying flute at the age of 12 and tenor saxophone at 14.  She, like Ms. Jones, studied at the noted Fiorello LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts in New York City.  After earning her degree in Geological & Environmental sciences at SUNY/Binghampton, Ms. Thurman returned to New York City and began performing with trumpeter Valery Ponomarev, drummer Charli Persip, and Gabriel Alegria & his Afro-Peruvian Sextet.  She is also a 2-time winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award.

For her debut CD, "Origins", MS. Thurman (who plays flute, tenor and soprano saxophones, sings and composed all but 2 of the 13 tracks) utilizes the rock-solid rhythm section of Corcoran Holt (acoustic bass) and the energetic Rudy Royston (drums) who gets the first solo on the opening track, the appropriately-titled "Forward Motion."  The leader, on tenor here, delivers a solid solo, riding atop the flying rhythms with a full-toned attack.  Enoch Smith, Jr. joins the trio on acoustic piano for 4 cuts, including the medium-tempo swinger "A Change of Mind", a gospel-influenced piece with a strong vocal from the leader (she has quite a range.) The pianist also is featured on Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz",  a version that has a hip-hop feel in the opening sections before moving into a driving swing tempo. Luis Perdomo appears on 5 tracks, including the handsome "Indigo Moments" that finds Shirazette Tinnin in the drum chair.  Ms. Thurman's elegant soprano saxophone leads the way through a finely-shaped melody which shifts easily over the various tempo changes.  Soprano sax blends with the harp of Brandee Younger on "The Dreamweaverer", another piece that grooves easily in medium tempo (although Rudy Royston invariably gives a more intense feel.)

Right in the middle of the program are 2 fascinating cuts.  The first, "Anna's Joy (interlude)", is a short (91 seconds) unaccompanied scat vocal that leads directly into "In Duetime" (sic) that opens with a fiery duo of flute and cajon (Ms. Tinnin) and into a bouncing Brazilian-flavored groove that spotlights solid bass work from Holt, a hearty Perdomo piano solo, splendid drumming and Ms. Thurman's joyous vocal (her unison scat with the piano brings a smile). Later on, Ms. Thurman joins with Smith, Jr. for a sweet take on "Please Be Kind", a lovely ballad composed by Saul Chaplin and Sammy Cahn. Her versatile voice glides through the verses, displaying a maturity and understanding that is emotionally strong.  Her vocal work throughout the album always feels natural, never forced, influenced by Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole and others.

 "Origins" is more than just a solid debut for Camille Thurman; it's our introduction to a musician/person who is spirited, formidable and dedicated to the myriad possibilities that modern music presents.  For more information, go to www.camillethurmanmusic.com.


Shirazette Tinnin, born and raised in North Carolina, was exposed to gospel music at a very young age as her parents were members of several large Southern Gospel groups that toured the Northeast.  Attracted to the drums, she studied at Appalachian State University. She then went on to study at Northern Illinois University under the tutelage of Ron Carter (the saxophonist) and performed in the Chicago area.  Upon moving to New York City, she (like Ms. Thurman) began working with Gabriel Alegria & his Afro-Peruvian Sextet as well as pianist Orrin Evans, trumpeter Hugh Masekela, saxophonist Tia Fuller, vocalist Alicia Keys and others.  Ms. Tinnin is also an educator, writer, and clinician.

"Humility: Purity of My Soul" is her debut as a leader and combines her interests in jazz, gospel and funk.  From the Billy Cobham-inspired fusion of the opening track "Her Powerful Locs" to the intimacy of "God's Lullaby" to the Afro-Caribbean take of Eddie Harris's "Freedom Jazz Dance" to the straight-ahead drive of "Inner Frustration", this music takes its cue from the person at the trap set.  Camille Thurman plays tenor saxophone on 7 of the 9 tracks plus adds her fine voice to the leader's original "Jazzmine."   That particular tune flows atop the full-toned bass of Tom DiCarlo and the NORD keyboard work of Rachel Eckroth (who also appears on 7 of the tracks).  Mimi Jones, one of the co-producers of the CD (along with pianist Willerm Delisfort) shows up on 3 tracks including the afore-mentioned "Freedom Jazz Dance" and the lovely medium-tempo ballad "Aunt Sissy."   One of the more impressive cuts is the fine arrangement of McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance", which simmers and burns with delightful solos from Delisfort, Ms. Thurman (over the energetic rhythm section), and a dynamic drum spot.  "The Warmest Season" features strong electric bass from Amanda Ruzza, rippling guitar riffs from Seth Johnson, excellent piano and keyboard sounds from Ms. Eckroth and a handsome vocal from Angolan-born Afrikkanitha.  Jhair Sala keeps the beat percolating on congas as Ms. Tinnin pushes from beneath and in front of the ensemble.

Shirazette Tinnin is a powerful drummer but rarely overpowers her fellow musicians.  Instead, she pushes, prods, caresses and colors the music with an intensity that often jumps from the speakers.  While the some of the pieces could have more depth, "Humility: Purity of My Soul" is a promising debut for an artist who bears watching and listening. For more information, go to shirazettetinnin.com.

These Hot Tone Music CDs are worth investigating - let's hope they don't get lost in the blizzard of February releases.  For more information and to listen to these artists, go to www.hottonemusic.com.

Jazz Weekly

Jazz Weekly

WHO IS MIMI JONES?!? Mimi Jones: Balance, Camille Thurman: Origins, Shirazette Tinnin: Humility-Purity of My Soul

Playing bass, singing, composing, arranging, leading a band as well as founding a label, New  York based Mimi Jones is working on creating a vehicle for jazz musicians without a Y chromosome to have a place to display their talents. She along with Camille Thurman and Shirazette have released a trio of albums that feature all three artists a la the vintage Blue Note days when a core of artists went back and forth between recordings. All three have some amazing moments and show an impressive future for this label in particular and jazz in general.

On her own album, Jones teams up with the two ladies as well as Ingrid Jensen/tp, Enoch Smith Jr-Miki Hayama-Luis Perdomo/key, Marvin Sewell-Sean Harkness/g, Justin Faulkner/d and Mala Waldron/voc for music genres that run the range from R&B to post bop jazz. Her voice, as evinced on the bopping “Nothing Like You” and the offbeat “Incy WIncy Spider” is sort of a darker hued version of Gretchen Parlato, floating like cirrus clouds. Her work on the bass can be shown on the soulful “Traveler” as well as on the flowing ballad “The Spinning Tree” while she displays a feisty side with some electric guitar on the frenetic “Someone Like You.”  Thruman’s flute is a joy on a couple tracks, particularly on the graciously undulating “Everybody Loves The Sunshine.” She put out a cooker a couple years ago, and this one shows it was no fluke: lots to like here!

Speaking of Thurman, she plays a tenor that will make you forget Sonny Rollins! On her own album, she sounds like she drank from the well of Ammons, Cobb and Forrest with a tone that is as beefy as a night at Famous Dave’s BBQ. Just get a load of her on the hard driving “ Forward Motion” or bopping “Origins.” On the latter, she gives a tongue lashing to drummer Rudy Royston on this no-holds-barred arm wrestling match. Along with Smith & Perdomo, Corcoran Holt/b, and Tinnin-Rudy Royston/dr Thurman sounds wonderfully rich on the ballad “Kindred Minds” and does a highly hip take of “Jitterbug Waltz.” Brandee Young brings in a harp and makes it swing on the finger snapping “The Dreamweaver.” Her tone is equally brilliant on the upbeat and sleek “Indigo Moments.” If she doesn’t come to LA soon, I’m gonna go get her!

Last, but not least, drummer Shirazette Tinnin displays charm and muscle behind the drums along with her two buddies and Tom DiCarlo/b. The three ladies work together on the funky New Orleanish take of “Freedom Jazz Dance” and the trickling “Aunt Sissy” that, along with “Her Powerful Locs” has Thurman’s glorious tenor begging you for more. Tinnin keeps busy without sounding cluttered on the assertive “Passion Dance” while also able to ebb on “God’s Lullaby”. Intricate and artsy vocasl by Afrikkanitha make “The Warmest Season” crisp and tight, while a soulful jam on “My Human Condition” features Tia Fuller on a rich alto sax. Some adrenaline flows when she lets loose with guitarist Seth Johnson on “Inner Frustration”. Just like the best of referee’s, you don’t notice her, but you appreciate the game because she does her job so well. Get her out on the Best Coast with her buds!

Hot Tone Music

www.hottonemusic.com

New Brunswick Today

Jazz Review: Hot Tone Music CD Release Party

Women in Jazz Month Wrapped Up in Style
Hot Tone Music
Rachel Eckroth, Mimi Jones, Camille Thurman, and Shirazette Tinnin of Hot Tone Music New Brunswick Jazz Project

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—All last month, the New Brunswick Jazz Project highlighted women in jazz, bringing female-led bands to their various performance spaces throughout the city.

This celebration of Women’s History month came to a close and a climax with Mimi Jones’ quartet at Makeda, where the stage was shared by label-mates from the Hot Tone Music imprint.

Though Jones was the nominal leader of the group, she shared direction, composition, and featured soloist duties more or less equally with drummer Shirazette Tinnin and saxophonist, flautist, vocalist, (and apparently geologist) Camille Thurman.

The focus was mostly on original material, as the band played tunes from their three newly released albums. These compositions were fresh, varied, and changed the pace constantly through the night; there were so many temporal, harmonic, and textural shifts that two hour-long sets felt like they lasted only minutes.

The band’s fresh approach was perhaps best embodied by a selection in the second half. Beginning with a free and loose improvisation (which showed off Rachel Eckroth’s considerable abilities on the electric piano), the group ebbed and flowed through a minor drone.

As it came to a close, Jones and Thurman sang in perfect harmony: “...just bees and things and flowers…,” and the band launched into Roy Ayers’ famous “Everybody Loves the Sunshine.”

Tinnin laid down a subtle groove with an implied double time as the group moved effortlessly through the melody of the 1970’s summer anthem.

Thurman then placed her flute back on its stand and grabbed the mic, launching into an incredible vocal improvisation. The register of her voice grew higher and higher as the band built to a climax and then slowly died back down.

It was a display of talent, technique, and group synergy so impressive that as the tune ended the audience was left in rapt attention and silence for a couple of seconds, still too transfixed to launch into the raucous applause that would follow.

It was obvious throughout the night how comfortable the women on stage were with one another as players. They changed sections effortlessly and seemingly telepathically, playing hits and changing the groove at the drop of a hat.

This was a well-rehearsed concert, borrowing some of the best aspects of jazz, soul, and pop music to create a unique stylistic blend. These fixtures of the New Brunswick Jazz scene are highly recommended.

Hot Tone Music Artists: Mimi Jones - Bass/Vocals; Shirazette Tinnin - Drums/Percussion; Camille Thurman - Saxophones/Flute/Vocals; With: Rachel Eckroth - Keyboards

For a schedule of Makeda’s Thursday Night Jazz and other shows in town, visit the New Brunswick Jazz Project’s website at NBJP.org. For more information about Hot Tone Music visit hottonemusic.com.

Open Sky Jazz/The Independent Ear

Mimi Jones Hot Tones

MimiJones
The month of March is International Women’s Month, a splendid time to celebrate the efforts of a woman artist who in more ways than one is taking matters into her own hands – as bassist, composer and record label CEO. I first met Mimi as a member of pianist Rachel Z‘s trio on a gig at Nighttown in Cleveland. A few years later she played Tri-C JazzFest with alto saxophonist Tia Fuller‘s take-no-prisoners, fashion-forward quartet and subsequent Mack Avenue recordings.

More recently Mimi has not only made two records as a leader (2009′s “A New Day” and earlier this year “Balance”). Both recordings were made for her own imprint, Hot Tone Music, which on the same release sequence as “Balance” has also showcased two of her talented sister musicians – tenor saxophonist-vocalist Camille Thurman (“Origins”), and drummer Shirazette Tinin – another member of that Tia Fuller band that played TCJF – and her debut recording “Divinity of My Soul.”

“A New Day” was a more vocal recording with a distinct groove orientation, while the somewhat cryptically titled “Balance” comes from a different place. Indeed Mimi is on record as declaring “Balance” a more straight-ahead date. Clearly with all this Mimi Jones’ activity afoot, it was time for some questions...

You speak of your new record as being perhaps a bit more “straight-ahead” than your previous efforts. What was your thinking when you made this record?
I must confess in preparation for the making of the 2nd album, I arranged to create a “straight ahead” record this go round. Although I felt “A New Day” [her first record] did relatively well for a first time jazz album, and was musically pleasing, I felt that it may have posed questions for those who need to categorize music. As I learned about the business, how for people marketing and presenting the music it’s so much easier for them if they could simply say its “smooth Jazz” or “Bop” or “modern Jazz”… record.

I sat down with a conscious effort in mind to make sure the album represented some good traditional “Straight ahead” jazz, but as soon as I allowed my stream of consciousness to enter in the mix, the next thing I knew, I was fusing the genres together for the sake of what the music called for in the moment and in relation to what was happening in today’s world.

That was the moment I thought, well when Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln created “Freedom Day” or the creation of Weather Report or Herbie Hancock’s “Headhunters”… they were affected by what was currently going on in the world, and it turned out to be some of the greatest music created, and its in my IPOD… I think it’s great to make sure stuff can be marketed but music should be allowed to come from an intangible place and maybe as long as we respect, study and preserve the previous genres… its okay to create new ones.

Talk about the musicians on this record and why you made the personnel choices you did in order to play this specific program of compositions…
Something I like to do is either write specifically for the players or pick folks that I will micro compose for… its more relaxed, less to have to explain, they just get it, therefore I don’t have to write everything. I’m always observing people and their “stuff” and their behavior too to estimate what would work for a situation.

I knew this album needed to explore the 2 sides of the pendulum… and the different degrees of tension and release, Joy and Pain, abundance and scarceity, involved… sounds that touched people’s emotions… something that somehow connected anyone who listened at a certain point. In order to do this I needed lots of polyrhythms. [Pianist and husband] Luis Perdomo who naturally can play in several different time signatures at the same time, would definitely create tension in songs like “Patriot” and allow for more of a modern Jazz sound like that of [the composition] “Speed” with his touch and vocabulary.

Its funny because Shirazette ended up on certain songs like “Dream”, “Traveler”,“the Incy Wincy Spider” because she brought elements of swing, Afro beats and simplicity to the table… versatility is one of her strengths, and she is golden especially in situations where opposites occur.

Every rehearsal [guitarist] Marvin [Sewell] runs to the piano like a kid in a toy store, so after asking him if we could record ”the Spinning Tree”, with him on piano, and him giving me some crap about there being three “real” pianists in the house [including Perdomo and Miki Hayama and Enoch Smith Jr.], he finally agreed. its funny too cuz he was the only pianist who truly got the sound right.

Ingrid Jensen’s [trumpet] playing is always emotional, no matter what she’s playing its super colorful and unpredictable, which kept the music on edge and created a visual as well.

Miki’s sense of gospel in jazz is extremely soulful in a way very different from Luis’. She plays at church every week when she’s in town, so it’s a different vocabulary but one that is eched in the history of this music and so she was perfect for Dream, she created a beautiful soundscape for “ the Edge of a Circle” as well

I thought it to be a unique way to pay homage to the great Roy Ayers by having Camille do a vocal solo on “Everybody Loves the Sunshine”, not sure if its been done before on that song but her skill set definitely brings the song to new heights.

Enoch Smith Jr. and I have big plans of working together and this was a great opportunity for us to start. He has a real talent for deconstructing and rearranging popular songs that truly allows the listener to get the original elements and then wowing them with a new package. So I asked for his skills on [Adele's] “Someone like You”, and Sean Harkness added guitar greatness on it as well making it sound more popular.

It was by mistake that the soulful Mala [Waldron] ended up on “Dream”, she was supposed to be doing scratch vocal, but I made an executive decision that her soulful sound needed to be present so that was a wrap.. Ha!

How have you evolved as a composer and a bass player?
I’m not afraid to ask dumb questions, or express that I don’t know “what the hell” is going on. I’m not as nervous anymore, or second guessing myself as much either. I get out the way of myself so I can get down to business. I used to get caught up if certain chords didn’t logically make sense and scrap the music, now I just get it out and figure it out later.

I still want to solo like a horn player, learn to truly be super relaxed in up tempos, and easily read thru changing odd meter. I feel like there’s so much more for me to learn and experience, but I’m embracing the challenge these days.

You’ve played in all-women bands before, like Rachel Z’s trio and Tia Fuller’s band. What is your sense about the current landscape for women instrumentalists?
Yes and those were very educational & fun experiences too! I feel like at a certain point things won’t be sooo segregated. Women will have more bands with men and vice versa. It sometimes gets to be a novelty being “a woman in Jazz”, like a gimmick. I think the more women can make time to shed, develop themselves and look out for one another, either by association, recommendation, or directly hiring of other women the more exposure the more educated people will become. It’s getting better slowly, its improving for sure.

Where are you going from here?
To the moon and back :0)! Hopefully far, I like to save lives with this music, create a movement of improvement, uplift communities, make a great living and enjoy doing it.

So that means you can see me performing: Mostly every week @ Crown 24 East 81st NYC, @ Symphony Space once per week; @ Ginny’ s in Harlem NYC on mar 29th, Playboy Jazz Festival in June, and Marylou William’s Jazz Festival in DC in May… Look out for new albums coming, expansions on the Hot Tone Music Label too!

MIMI JONES: www.mimijonesmusic.com
Mimi Jones 2
Mimi Jones 1

HOT TONE MUSIC: www.hottonemusic.com
Camille Thurman

Shirazette

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Getting It Done….All At Once


Camille Thurman, Mimi Jones, and Shirazette Tinnin, three NYC jazz instrumentalists, all with coordinated new releases Feb. 7, 2014.

By: Roland Williams
KWMV FM 95.7, Westcliffe, Colorado

If I said that on Feb 7, 2014 an artist-vocalist-bassist released three albums at once, it would facilitate awe and curiosity. Yet this is exactly what happened. All three releases were her work, although one of the releases was her music. Mimi Jones is not only an accomplished jazz bassist and vocalist, she is the founder and producer of the record label Hot Tone Music, and she brought all three of these albums to reality.

For nearly twenty years Jones has been a part of the New York City jazz scene. Her February release, Balance, is her second album as a bandleader. The other two releases headline by her initial label mates Drummer Shirazette Tinnin, who recently moved east after years in Chicago, and saxophonist-vocalist Camille Thurman, a native of the NYC who recently earned a college degree in Geological and Environmental Sciences. Tinnin’s album is called Humility: Purity of My Soul and Thurman’s album is called Origins. Both Tinnin and Thurman are putting out their debut recordings.

Hot Tone Music is not an artistic collaboration; each artist contributed her own individual concepts and musicality to the project. Mimi pulled together campaigns and cut package deals with publicists, recording engineers, photographers and graphic artists. Subsequently Hot Tone Music is a collectively operated enterprise. “In a sense, these releases are sort of a celebration that if you can come together as a community, you can get it done, and everybody wins,” Mimi Jones said in a phone interview with NPR.

Pictured together above, these three musicians are impressive. All three are black female instrumentalists, an anomaly in today’s jazz community. Defending that this was a conscious decision Jones stated in that same NPR interview, “Um, I feel like it was a dual consciousness? The way it came about was that they were just my friends, and I have friends of all nationalities, but these two had reached out for my help.”

These three releases possess a similarity that binds them in time and space. Yet their individuality is in the forefront of each artists performances. Their instrumental virtuosity is evident and Mimi is to be commended for the high level of production consistently sought and attained.

I enjoyed all three of these releases and look forward to the answer to the ” what’s next” question. Note the names, remember the label, and keep your ears open.

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Revive

 

We’re already set up nicely for 2014 with three impressive records scheduled for release on February 4, 2014 on Hot Tone Music bassist Mimi Jones’ Balance, saxophonist Camille Thurman’s Origins and drummer Shirazette Tinnin’s  Humility: Purity of My Soul. If we know anything about these three lovely ladies, we know they pack a punch in their playing as well as their stature. From Mimi’s work with Terri Lyne Carrington’s Grammy-winning record The Mosaic Project to Camille’s recent ASCAP Foundation Composer awards for her upcoming release Origins and then Shirazatte’s long time work as drummer for saxophonist Tia Fuller,  the simultaneous release of all three records places the Hot Tone Music label, which is owned by Mimi Jones, at the forefront of recognizing the increasing prominence of world-class female musicians in the jazz arena.  Save the date– February 4, 2014– and get your advanced tickets for the album release concert below.

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Revive Music Presents: Hot Tone Music Album Release Concert

f. Bassist Mimi Jones, Saxophonist Camille Thurman and Drummer Shirazette Tinnin

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 4th

Venue: Le Poisson Rouge

Time: Doors 6pm | Show: 6:30pm-9pm

Tickets: $15 Advanced – Purchase Advanced Tix Here 

All About Jazz

Mimi Jones: Balance

By Published: March 9, 2014

Mimi Jones: Mimi Jones: Balance Balance is one of three new titles released in February 2014 by Hot Tone Music, the label founded by bassist/vocalist Mimi Jones. "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 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 and Paul Motian painted shades of rhythm behind Bill Evans. Rolling along Jones' bass and Faulkner's drums, and riding Luis Perdomo'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's hit single "Everybody Loves the Sunshine." Her rearrangement of "Someone Like You" (Adele) moves from brooding to bold, like Jill Scott 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, herself a bandleader (and daughter of famous jazz pianist and composer Mal Waldron), 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

 

All About Jazz

Mimi Jones: Balance (2014)

By Published: January 24, 2014

Mimi Jones: Balance NYC-native bassist-raconteur Mimi Jones founded Hot Tone records in 2009, releasing her debut, A New Day. Jones states the label ..."was created to give chances to those who may have been overlooked and denied the necessary support and knowledge to develop." Specifically, and appropriately, the focus of the label has evolved as a resource for women jazz instrumentalists. After an incubation period of five years, Hot Tone records detonates with the release of Jones' second effort as a leader, Balance. Two additional names need be mentioned with regards to Balance as they appear on Jones' recording and have same label releases themselves: multireedist Camille Thurman and drummer/percussionist Shirazette Tinnin. These artists have much to say, indeed.

Jazz has been in a state of kinetic flux since the late 1960s, expanding at an accelerated rate like the universe is thought to do. Balance is very much a synthesis of jazz genres as well as a heaped helping of pop, soul and R&B, mixing and making what is produced here. While this is not new, this synthesis manifests fully developed in Jones' musical vision. She goes a long way to effecting a homogeneous musical stream drawing from and assimilating all previous influences. This reflects the rich musical environment in which Jones grew up and the direction in her music studies.

Balance addresses the recent questions of jazz's viability (a la Robert Glasper) very definitively. Jones seamlessly combines different musical styles and genre into a potent solution of music where all these elements can still be detected while new aspects of the elements are illuminated. Jones opens the disc with her performance of Bob Dorough's "Nothing Like You" (featured as a sore thumb on Miles Davis' Sorcerer (Columbia, 1967). Rather than sing the Fran Landesman lyrics as Esperanza Spalding has in recent performances, Jones plays the melody arco while husband/pianist Luis Perdomo weaves asymmetric filigree about the standard composition.

Jones' sings on "Traveler," revealing a voice with a greater liquid elasticity than Betty Carter's while still remaining within the lines of the listenable. "Speedbump" features a cameo by trumpeter Ingrid Jensen who plays her best Freddie Hubbard in the 4/4 sections and her best Tom Harrell in the rest. Of course she is all Ingrid Jensen and she also appears on "The Edge of a Circle." Thurman provides flute and vocals on "Everyone Loves Sunshine" and "Junk Funk," both lengthy reveries on sound and time. Tinnin provides drums for the former, showing that her and Thurman's releases are worthy of attention. This music comes from and is in a very good place. It is vibrantly alive, exhaling only positive vibes.


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; Everyone Loves Sunshine; Junk Funk; Dream.

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

Record Label: Hot Tone Music

Style: Modern Jazz

Bop N Jazz

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mimi Jones Balance Hot Tone 2014

Mimi Jones establishes herself as one of the premier female artists in improvisational music!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
  
If the name Mimi Jones sounds familiar it may be due to a musical resume including Sean Jones, Tia Fuller and the ever dynamic Terri Lyne Carrington. Far from a newbie in the traditional sense, Balance finds Jones spreading her wings on both acoustic and electric bass while tossing is solid vocal performances on an eclectic set list including stellar originals and some surprising covers from Adele, Roy Ayers and the children's classic "The Incy Wincy Spider."
  
The prodigious talent of Jones is more than complemented with an array of talented artists that cut a wide path on the international jazz front. Outstanding performance as consistent from this impressive collective with performances of particular note coming from Enoch Smith Jr. as well as label mates Camille Thurman and Shirazette Tinnin who are also releasing recordings on Feb. 4th. There is a slight musical kinship with fellow bassist Esperanza Spalding who has revived the Bob Dorough tune "Nothing Like You" which was previously made famous by Miles Davis from the 1967 release Sorcerer. Jones places her own indelible mark on this tune along with a smoker "Speedbump" which is a joint effort from Jones and pianist Luis Perdomo. Showing range and adaptability, Mimi Jones reharmed the tune "The Incy Wincy Spider" into something a bit more menacing and the vibe pays off as she reinvents this tune and pushes it to a new level of creativity with the minor key formulations. The soulful and soul filled cover of the 2010 Adele hit "Someone Like You" could possibly get that ever illusive cross over attention that improvisational artists so desperately need to grow their audiences past the major metropolitan areas of the United States.
  
Hot Tone Records is a Mimi Jones joint. Her dedication to not only her art but her sincerity in helping other female artists reach their full potential is commendable and sadly needed when major label executives still seem to conveniently look the other way when deserving talent is right in front of them. Balance is a winning effort. A solid and incredibly well developed work that showcases yet another rising star in the label's formidable talent pool.
A perfect balance.
 
Tracks: 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 and Voice; Ingrid Jensen: Trumpet; Camille Thurman: Flute and Voice; Luis Perdomo: Piano, Wurlitzer, Rhodes and Moog; Enoch Smith Jr.: Piano; Miki Hayama: Piano, Wurlitzer, Rhodes; Marvin Sewell: Guitar and Piano; Sean Harkness: Guitars; Shirazette Tinnin: Drums & Percussion; Justin Faulkner: Drums; Mala Waldron: Vocal
 

The Vertical Spin

… explores the intricate elements and virtuous expressions of modern jazz & beyond

Mimi Jones | Balance [NR-2014 | Hot Tone Music]

Mimi Jones, BALANCEMimi Jones, multi talented bassist, vocalist and composer, bring her beacon of musical light to the world while embracing a positive future with her inspiring messages. Mimi’s elegant sound is an eclectic mix of genres based on a strong jazz foundation that leave room for funky bass grooves, world beat rhythms, and gentle textures. Her inspiring debut release CD, “A New Day” is bursting with original compositions seamlessly melting from one song to another and caressed by the warmth of Mimi’s sultry voice. The title of the CD speaks of embracing a changing world with a positive point of view while maintaining the courage to move forward just as the new persona and alter ego, Mimi Jones, was transformed from “side man” Miriam Sullivan in order to more appropriately express her own messages of change and future progression.

Mimi Jones has shared the stage with such talents as the great Lionel Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Rachel Z, Sean Jones, Kenny Barron, Jesse Davis, Ingrid Jensen, Kevin Mahogany, Denis Charles, Tia Fuller and Onaje Allan Gumbs just to name a few. Besides receiving a Bachelor’s of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music she also studied, attended workshops or mentored with Lisle Atkinson, Barry Harris, Ron Carter, Milt Hinton, Dr. Billy Taylor, Yusef Latif, Max Roach, and Latin bass techniques with Guillermo Edgehill. The Mimi Jones Band has performed at the Jazz Standard, the Blue Note, and the Kennedy Center, Dizzy’ s Coca Cola.

For more about Mimi Jones visit: www.HOTTONEMUSIC.com.  -Biography 

 

Marlbank

Bass space

 

Mimi Jones
Balance
Hot Tone Music ***
The first thing you might want to do when the bass solo kicks in right from the off on Balance is to listen to Miles Davis’ album Sorcerer. It’s unavoidable. That’s because New York bassist Mimi Jones (known for her work with saxophonist Tia Fuller) opens with ‘Nothing Like You’, the Bob Dorough song that Dorough sang Fran Landesman's words to with the Miles Davis sextet in 1962 and which ended up included on Sorcerer five years later, a rare appearance by a vocalist on a Miles album. It’s great historic jazz signposting. That done turn back to Balance an album where Jones who debuted with A New Day five years ago also sings on some tracks as well as alternating between electric and woody acoustic bass and is joined by a cast of players including trumpeter Ingrid Jensen plangent and lonely on ‘The Edge of a Circle’, erstwhile Ravi Coltrane pianist Luis Perdomo on five tracks (Miki Hayama on keys on much of the remainder) and such luminaries as Marvin Sewell cropping up. Sewell unusually also adds piano on the treatment of his own tune ‘The Spinning Tree’; and then there's legendary pianist Mal Waldron’s daughter Mala a guest vocalist at the end on the positive ‘Dream’. Drum duties are shared between Branford Marsalis drummer Justin Faulkner and Shirazette Tinnin.

Balance is a lively spirited album even it's a mixed bag (the soupy ‘To Be’ one of the weaker tracks) full of broad brushstrokes and energy, a bit rough around the edges in places, but that doesn’t really matter too much and the album keeps it real with an ear for familiar material including perennial favourite Roy Ayers’ ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’ that unfolds stealthily and a quirky if less essential choice in children’s song ‘The Incy Wincy Spider.’ Including Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, a contrast to the Dorough song in its link to the modern day popular music world whereas the Dorough song denoted aspects of the Beat-inspired jazz-vocals past, is a risk as the song has been covered so much. Yet Jones just about pulls off its inclusion in the eight-minute version here.
Released on CD on 4 February (US release date)

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