Hot Tone Music, the artist-run label founded by bassist /composer Mimi Jones
in 2009, announces the simultaneous release on May 13 of new CDs by Jones (Feet in the Mud
) and pianist/composer Luis Perdomo
is his eighth album as a leader but the first solo piano recording in his distinguished career. After he’d begun playing solo concerts three years ago, this ever-evolving artist reached out to his pianist friend Fred Hersch “to fine-tune some aspects of my own solo playing.” Of Montage
, he says, “I felt the time was right for me to do it, and I felt ready to take on the challenge. I always loved the flexibility and freedom of being able to take the music in different directions.”
Repertoire on the new CD is an intriguingly personal mix of favorite jazz and Songbook standards (“Monk’s Dream,” “Body and Soul,” Stanley Cowell’s “Cal Massey”), studio improvisations, and songs from his Caracas childhood that left an indelible impression on him (“Mambo Mongo,” “La Revuelta de Don Fulgencio,” the bolero “Si Te Contara”). While Montage
offers ample evidence of Perdomo’s musical mastery, the pianist claims that he wanted the music “to serve as a soundtrack for everyday life. You don’t have to go to Carnegie Hall and put on a suit to listen to this music.”
For her third Hot Tone Music album, Feet in the Mud
, Mimi Jones called on an “amazing crew” consisting of her frequent drummer Jonathan Barber as well as new colleagues Jon Cowherd on piano and Fender Rhodes and soprano saxophonist Samir Zarif. They provide the perfect support for the leader’s deeply satisfying bass lines and haunting vocals, which are anchored in the jazz tradition yet stylistically elastic enough to encompass other genres.
The CD, says Jones, is “a tribute to those who have left a huge imprint on me and the world, as well as those who are still alive and making an imprint as we speak. It’s also about finding true joy within yourself, having an open mind and spirit and a connection to the earth.” Jones’s originals (among them “Lyman’s Place,” the buoyant “Elevate,” and the appealing opening track “Mr. Poo Poo”) reflect these themes and concerns; the program also includes Wayne Shorter’s “Fall,” Enoch Smith Jr.’s arrangement of “Blackbird,” and ”Feet in the Mud,” composed by Perdomo.
Born in New York City (in 1972) and raised in the Bronx, Mimi Jones attended Fiorello LaGuardia High School and earned a B.A. in music at the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory. She missed her graduation, however, because she’d been hired to tour Japan with saxophonist Masa Wada and drummer Denis Charles. It was the first of numerous overseas tours that would take her to Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, some under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. In addition to leading her own groups, Jones has worked with jazz artists including Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Terri Lyne Carrington (who chose Jones to play on her Grammy-winning The Mosaic Project
), Ravi Coltrane, Lizz Wright, Toshi Reagon, Roy Hargrove, and many more. She has previously recorded two albums as leader—A New Day
(2009) and Balance
(2014), both for Hot Tone Music.
Luis Perdomo was born (1971) and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, where he received an excellent music education from his father’s vast LP collection and his teacher Gerry Weil. He was awarded a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music and studied there with Harold Danko and Martha Pestalozzi, earning his B.A. in 1997; three years later he received his master’s at Queens College after study with Sir Roland Hanna. Perdomo became a first-class sideman, recording and/or touring with Dave Douglas, Tom Harrell, Steve Turre, and many other jazz and Latin artists. He was a member of Ravi Coltrane’s Quartet for ten years, and is a founding member of the Miguel Zenon Quartet. Among his recordings as a leader are Focus Point
(2008), Universal Mind
(2012), and his 2015 Hot Tone Music debut, Twenty-Two
, featuring his Controlling Ear Unit with Mimi Jones and drummer Rudy Royston.
Perdomo and Jones, who have been a couple for the last 12-plus years, frequently work together, both on the stage and in the studio. “I was afraid for the longest time of having my wife in my band,” says the pianist. “What if we have a fight, and it affects the music? But actually she knows what influences me, what I like and don’t like—and she’s a solid bassist.”
On Wednesday 6/1, Luis Perdomo will perform a CD release show for Montage
at the Jazz Standard, NYC, with special guest The Controlling Ear Unit (Luis Perdomo, p; Mimi Jones, b/voc; Rudy Royston, d). Other Perdomo dates include: 7/25-7/31 Langnau (Switzerland) Jazz Nights; 10/21 Café Tra le rigge, San Severo, Italy; 10/29 Jazzkeller Esslingen (Germany).
The Mimi Jones Band will be appearing 5/7 at Casita Maria Center for the Arts in the Bronx (3:00-3:45 pm, free/outdoors), with a New York City CD release show soon to be announced. Other dates include 7/9 at the Lighthouse Jazz Festival, Michigan City, IN; 7/11 Arts Incubator, Chicago; 9/6 Jazz Showcase, Chicago; and 9/10 IRock Jazz Festival, Holland, MI. A Japanese tour is set for 10/5-17, and a European tour for November.