Mimi Jones, multi talented bassist, vocalist and composer, brings 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 in a strong jazz foundation that leave room for funky bass grooves, world beat rhythms, gentle textures and the soulful cries of the Wurlizer. “My music taps in directly to the senses using elements of jazz, folk, rock, blues and different sounds from around the world which have all had such a profound effect on me.”
Her inspiring debut recording,” 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 music is a rich assortment of rhythmic statements, musical textures, and compositional variations all flawlessly executed by Mimi Jones (acoustic bass, electric bass, vocals, composer, arranger, and assistant producer), Marvin Sewell (acoustic and electric guitars), Miki Hayama (piano, key board and Wurlitzer), Marcus Gilmore (drums), Lucianna Padmore (drums on tracks 1 and 11) and Ambrose Akinmisure (trumpet). 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 fully express her individual messages of change and personal evolution. Songs like “Fast Lane,” “Spiral,” “Watch Your Step” and “Mighty Time” send those messages by allowing the music to take shape without fear of definition and genre restriction. The concept is to cross borders and to reach out to a broader perception of time, space and rhythm. Mimi’s philosophy is profound, yet simple, “It’s important to me that this music is for everyone. I believe that I have a calling to heal and make people feel good so I want to pass on what comes to me musically. Hopefully this music will make our world a little bit better.”
Miriam Sullivan (aka Mimi Jones) was born in New York City and raised in the Bronx by parents that descended from Barbados and St.Croix, which explains why Mimi has so many musical influences that flow easily through her compositional style. A graduate from Manhattan School of Music Conservatory she studied early on with world-class bassist, Lisle Atkinson and saxophonist Charles Davis at the Jazz Mobile Workshop. She also studied, attended workshops or mentored with Barry Harris, Ron Carter, Milt Hinton, Dr. Billy Taylor, Yusef Latif, Max Roach, and Latin bass techniques with Guillermo Edgehill. Since then “side man” Miriam Sullivan (aka Mimi Jones) has gone on to share the stage with such talents as the great Lionel Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Rachel Z, Sean Jones, Kenny Barron, Jesse Davis, Ingrid Jenson, Kevin Mahogany, Denis Charles, Joshua Redman and Onaje Allan Gumbs just to name a few. She has even toured extensively throughout Europe and the United States. In 2003, Miriam Sullivan co founded the group ”Jazz Sabroson” with drummer Antonio De Vivo and was commissioned by the Kennedy Center and Department of State to participate in the international program of cultural exchange performing in Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, Barbados, Jamaica, Nevis and the Dominican Republic. The group was elected in 2006 by the Department of State and Jazz at Lincoln Center to participate in the Rhythm Abroad Program, this time traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco and Algeria. Later on Miriam returned to Mali with guitarist Steve Bloom, where the two diligently worked with Malian students of all ages, exploring the possibilities of musical expansion, and gladly partaking in the cultural exchange. Miriam explains that going into the motherland of Africa is always a heart-felt experience and continues to change her outlook on life. She constantly looks for new opportunities in which to aid her brothers and sisters abroad as well as at home with her own organization “The Girls Group” located in the South Bronx.
A recurring face since 2000 at the Kennedy Center’s annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival in Washington D.C. as Miriam Sullivan (playing in bands led by pianist Rachel Z and Joanne Brackeen), now Mimi Jones brings her project to the stage on May 14, 2009 premièring her debut release, “A New Day.” Mimi Jones has already appeared at the Kitano Hotel, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, the Puffin Foundation, and Sista’s Place.
In the future Mimi Jones plans to incorporate multimedia performances and collaborations with other artists. She wants to find more diverse ways to reach out to the public by making her music accessible while maintaining the integrity of the music that has propelled her on her journey. Although Mimi plays acoustic bass, baby bass, electric bass, and numerous styles of music (including jazz, funk, hip hop, Cuban, free, folk, and pop) she thrives on remaining open to learning unfamiliar sounds. "I hope that my music sends a message of unconditional love and encouragement in order to let people know that we all experience the same things but in different ways. If we find the joy within eventually it will be all around us."
And if you want to add the track notes:
ABOUT “A New Day” in her own words:
The title “A New Day” is dedicated to the concept of change and moving forward into a positive future. These songs are my way of giving support and encouragement as we go through these changes in an historic attempt to break old patterns and create new paradigms. I hope that my music sends a message of unconditional love and encouragement in order to let people know that we all experience the same things but in different ways. If we find the joy within eventually it will be all around us.
Track 1 – Fast Lane: This song represents a flow of steady forward motion or moving toward a desire. Picture a New York scene in midtown, full of taxis and people doing their daily grind while moving in fast motion. The fast lane is like the pace of life, not necessarily a good or bad thing, combined with a sense of freedom that allows one to let go and let life happen spontaneously.
Track 2 – Watch Your Step: This song has several meanings: watch what you are doing, take your time and get it right while moving from the past to the present. The guitar is the instrumental symbol for the old south with people of all sizes, shapes and colors dragging their bags onto the train. Once the music changes it demonstrates the train moving through time to the present making stops through space almost like a time machine. Instantly everything becomes current and the people’s clothes change from frumpy to dazzling because this is what happens when you get on this train. It’s the last call and you definitely don’t want to miss it!
Track 3 - Spiral: This song is about holding on and bending through the loops of a spiral, similar to a roller coaster, while being able to remain in your seat. You’ve got to be flexible. The last verse basically says that since history repeats itself we can expect the same outcome until we finally make a conscious effort to make different choices.
Track 4 – Mighty Time: Respect the passage of time and remember that as time passes the reality of what is really important in our lives becomes clear.
Track 5 – Suite Mary: (In homage to the great pianist, composer, and arranger Mary Lou Williams). This selection is a celebration of her accomplishments as a pioneer for women, especially African American Women musicians, coming up in the years between 1910 and 1981. I enjoyed experimenting with different textures and sounds to represent some of the ups and downs she may have encountered in her life. She has definitely been a huge inspiration to me as an artist and composer.
Track 6 - Silva: The song is about a little boy whose mother is giving him advice about how to overcome negativity by dancing and moving. She tells him not to be ashamed to shake things off so that he can be happier in life.
Track 7 – Close Your Eyes: I wrote this song while watching my mother hold her sister’s hand as she was preparing to die. Her sister was very scared and it seemed as though time stood still in that moment as my mom softly cried while telling her sister how much she loved her and assured her everything would be all right. It was a moving experience for me that I hope listeners will interpret in their own way.
Track 8 – For Granted: Value what you have and don’t take anything for granted. It seems we never appreciate what we have until it’s gone so I want this song to be a reminder to pay attention now.
Track 9 – All Things: I wanted to express the idea that everything changes and nothing is forever. We must try to learn something from all of our experiences, good or bad, and in the process remember to live our lives fully and deeply.
Track 10- Sista: This song deals with world poverty issues. In this global, fast paced world with tons of money being passed back and forth there are still people in need of food and shelter. Many of them are right in our own communities. So this song is a cry for help and the intense passion and frustration behind being in need.
Track 11- Thank You pays homage to the creator and thanks to everyone who has been a part of my life’s journey.
Track 12- We Shall Overcome: is an inspirational song to help us to remember to keep our dreams alive, especially in these difficult times. The song also reflects on how far we’ve come and how we must continue and evolve in order to raise our consciousness to create a better world.