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Mimi Jones: True Moments

Struggle and survival inform bassist and singer’s latest

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

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.”

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