Friday, July 31, 2009

Ellen Johnson & Scott Hilzik Special Blend of Jazz

Ellen Johnson, vocals
Scott Hiltzik, piano

Jazz Duo

At the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa
Saturday, August 1st

"Johnson raises the standard of modern jazz singing by at least one notch." - George Harris, All About Jazz

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Innovative Figure in the Evolution of Modern Jazz, George Russell Dies at 86

Composer, theoretician, pianist George Russell passed away this evening, July 27, 2009 at approximately 9:10 pm from complications due to Alzheimer’s.

George Russell was a hugely influential, innovative figure in the evolution of modern jazz, the music's only major theorist, one of its most profound composers, and a trail blazer whose ideas have transformed and inspired some of the greatest musicians of our time.

For full article at

George Russell's book, The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, first published in 1953, was the first theoretical contribution to come from jazz, and was responsible for introducing modal improvisation which resulted in the seminal recording of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue." Since it's publication, there have been scores of books on the market which have "borrowed" bits of the Concept's information, but there is only one original.

"[The Concept] was the great path-breaker for Miles Davis and John Coltrane's modality."
- Joachim Berendt, The Jazz Book.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sheila Jordan: On the Scene at the Montreal Jazz Festival

The Epoch Times
by Ori Dagon

Aiming to please, the organizers of le Festival International de Jazz de Montreal always include something for everyone, whether it’s a free concert by Stevie Wonder or decidedly non-jazz bait like classic rocker Joe Cocker, R&B legends Kool & The Gang, or reggae originators Rocksteady. Despite the crossover fare, for those of us who live for jazz, there was plenty to be excited about this season.

Legendary bebop singer Sheila Jordan returned to the Upstairs Jazz Club. The youthful 80 year-old Detroit native who scats from her heart once again wowed the crowd with her sublime senses of rhythm and humor, evidenced by an ability to improvise lyrics that rhyme time after time. The inimitable Lady Bebop was accompanied by a fantastic trio of resident musicians—Jeff Johnston on piano, David Watts on bass and John Fraboni on drums.

Montreal famed jazz broadcaster and journalist Len Dobbin suffered a fatal stroke toward the end of the festival. Here is pictured at the festival with legendary bebop singer Sheila Jordan at the Upstairs Jazz Club, which serves as a festival venue. (Ori Dagan)

MIMI JONES: PURE TALENT - Review by John Books


REVIEW: Mimi Jones’ “A New Day” by John Books Published July 1, 2009

To read entire review:

Bassist/vocalist Mimi Jones has released a great album called A New Day (Hot Tone Music) and she is seen on the cover with her left hand on the neck of a stand-up bass.

But as I played this album a number of times, I’m thinking to myself that Miss Jones should be playing on The Today Show, The Carson Daly Show or even Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. In other words, she is deserving of mainstream success and I’ll tell you why. The music on A New Day is like a cross between Cassandra Wilson and Me’Shell NdegeOcello, not so much in their vocal style or tone but in the passion they put into their music.

In 2009, marketing can make the worst sounding music sound like the best thing you ever heard in your life. But marketing cannot take away pure talent, and Mimi Jones is someone who has this in abundance

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mimi Jones: Pick of the Year for Most Creative Artist

Mimi Jones "A New Day " Review

Improvijazzation Nation by Dick Metcalf

Mimi Jones - A NEW DAY: We seldom "push" CD's to the top of the review stacks, but ev'ry once in a while, the first listen (just kinda') DICTATES that our thoughts about the music we're hearing MUST be written down in/of the moment.

It's an odd comparison, in a certain sense, but it's like the very first time I listened to a Joni Mitchell album... I knew that the artist's vision was part of a new paradigm... & Mimi Jones composes & plays a blend of bluesy jazz on this debut CD that IS the "new music" (release date is September 15th, 2009, so get it NOW)! Her bass work is strong & solid, and her vocals reach right down to the depths of your soul... it's not like she's trying to sell you her soul, either... no tricks, just highly talented compositions that fuse together all the elements, all the influences she's had (whether in this incarnation or previous ones) into something you will desire to listen to - over & over & over again!

There is also a (sort of) "Prince-like" quality to some of the tunes, like "Suite Mary", but with a totally jazz bent, & no gimmicks - just a soaring horn front joined by a delicious Wurlitzer section, all underpinned by Mimi's driving bass lines.... simply grand! It was actually the second track in, "Watch Yo Step", with one of the gutsiest guitar blues leads I've ever heard & a totally husky vocal by Ms. Jones, that gets played numerous times daily... absolutely my favorite track on the CD... if it was just blues, it would probably be kind of "ordinary", but this is one of the jazziest pieces I've ever heard.

This Ms. Mimi is someone you will be hearing from for a long time to come - & remember, you heard that here first! This CD gets my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, as well as the "PICK" of the YEAR for "most creative artist"! Get more information at or at & be sure to tell Mimi that Zzaj sent you, please. Rotcod Zzaj

Friday, July 10, 2009


We were sad to hear of the passing of one of the great supporter's of jazz music, Len Dobbins.
Len dedicated his life to the music and the musicians and he will be greatly missed.

We had the great pleasure of having Len support our artists on his radio show, especially his dear friend Sheila Jordan. Len was approachable, pleasant, helpful and loyal to the music and the musicians. It was ALWAYS a pleasure to work with him.

Our sympathies go to his family and friends.

For more about Len please check this link out from the Montreal Gazette.

Friday, July 3, 2009

In A World of Female Bassists, Mimi Jones Sets the Bar With Her Debut CD “A New Day”

(New York, NY June 29, 2009) With the musical world buzzing about Esperanza Spalding it’s no wonder that the timing is perfect for the release of yet another extraordinary female bassist, composer and vocalist. Introducing Mimi Jones and her debut CD “A New Day” (Hot Tone Music) set for release on September 15th, 2009.

Mimi Jones recently gave a sneak preview of her debut CD during the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the prestigious Kennedy Center along with performances featuring the world's top female jazz artists including: Anat Cohen and the Anzic Orchestra, Janis Siegel, Carmen Lundy, the Maria Schneider Orchestra and Esperanza Spalding. Mimi’s inspiring debut recording,” A New Day” is bursting with original compositions seamlessly melting from one song to another and caressed by the warmth of her 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.” For more information go to or contact Joy Foster at SV Media Relations –

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), Mimi Jones brought her own 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. She was recently the featured artist on the cover of “No Treble Magazine”, the “Pick of the Year” for most creative artist by Dick Metcalf of “Improvijazzation Nation” and Chris Spector of “Midwest Record” said, “she’s got a lot on the ball and it seems like this is only the beginning.”

For more information go to or contact Joy Foster at SV Media Relations –