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Mimi Jones: Feet in the Mud

Bassist-vocalist Mimi Jones is joined here by soprano saxophonist Samir Zarif, pianist Jon Cowherd and drummer Jonathan Barber, settling into a comfortable groove pitched midway between ’70s-styled urban funk-jazz and straight-ahead swing.

The opener, “Mr. Poo Poo,” sets the tone, with Jones’ alternating rhythmic conceits prodding Cowherd’s uptown-lounge Rhodes spicings. Jones’ solo summons a Blanton-like melodic and tonal richness peppered with Pettiford-ian skitters and an ability to evoke, rather than state outright, the rhythmic theme (a knack she tosses back and forth with Barber during their exchanges). The melody line of “The-Min-or Way” (that’s THElonious, MINgus and ORnette) reflects Monk’s influence, as do the rhythmic and melodic contours of Cowherd’s piano solo, but Zarif sounds more like Coltrane at his most ebullient (think “The Inch Worm” or “Your Lady”) than the untamable Ornette, and Jones’ bass work, propulsive and dexterous as it is, does not aspire to Mingus’ tumultuous virtuosity.

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