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!
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