Mike Jones, Plays Well With Others: Record Of The Month
You’re gonna think I like this record a little too much… then you know what’s gonna happen? You’re gonna go and listen to it… and you’re gonna think
‘That Note dude really downplayed how awesome Plays Well With Others is, he’s a really harsh critic.’
And I will. Give me a moment.
But I think it’s better to take that moment and write a post for all of The Note Show listeners who don’t know jazz like the back of Mike Jones’s well tattooed, cluster chord playing fists of mellow-fury. Besides, Mike is coming on the new show soon for an interview, and we can cover all that then; the record of the month is meant to be my sincere recommendation to you guys, so for now let me lay it down:
Mike Jones plays piano.
Really, really great Jazz Piano.
I have been talking and posting about this album for weeks and quite a few of our listeners have written in to say they took my word for it, and the word was good.
If you want a cd that will mess you up over what you don’t know about Jazz Music, make it Plays Well With Others
If you want a cd that you can listen to in almost any mood and feel good? Same answer.
Listening to it I find myself hard pressed not to act like a dorky wine huffer on a vineyard tour of great jazz, and not just jazz pianists. The first night I picked it up, I was pacing around my kitchen for 5 hours straight listening. Yeah I was doing a little work on the side, but I couldn’t stop pacing, I couldn’t stop hearing names of players I’ve adored during my formative years and beyond, ‘Thelonius.. yeah a little taste of Theo… Oscar, oh yeah that’s full-bodied Oscar, with highlights of Art Tatum and and distinct aftertaste of …‘ But I don’t think like that (I swear to you) it’s just hard to hear a cd so full of the great jazz sounds and not stop to really breathe it in.
I implore you, veteran swingers or novitiate jazz-curious teens: Get drunk on this record, I’m well and truly squiffy.*
If this is your first foray into a different kind of music, I think you could do far worse than these 13 tracks, there are renditions of classics like Deed I Do and Besame Mucho as well as Mike’s own compositions and I guarantee you that every single track is worth listening to again and again. No 3 decent tracks/a single/a spotlight and a skimpy outfit here… well I don’t know, I’ve never seem Mike’s stage clothes but I can say you’re not going to get a few tracks deep and then find yourself wishing you’d bought the single… and it’s jazz, there’s rarely a single anyway.
There’s nothing I like more than hearing an instrumentalist play and finding myself singing the words to the song, but the thing with Mike’s new record is I just wanted to hear what he was doing on every tune. So many choices are made differently to anyone else even as they invoke the pantheon of artists that founded his music. And it’s a sound so full no matter what Mike is doing, both hands seem to be his strongest hand.
Mike just signed to Capri Records, and upon that a trio was assembled. Jeff Hamilton plays the drums, Mike Gurrola plays the bass. Together they form a jazz megazord ready to fight evil poptarts… ok I’m getting off topic. The fact is, they really suit each other. The record is clean… like way clean. Everything is crisp and every note is audible, but taking my 4 am walk around the streets of Leeds recently made me feel like I’m front row at Santiagos and 17 again, full of excitement only with the best musicians in town… and I can ask for as many replays as I want.
Jeff Hamilton is arguably the best drummer alive (I’m sorry slipknot fans, heartbreaking I know) and he simultaneously tears it up with his brushes whilst being totally mellow all at the same time. Gurrola’s bass playing smacks of those deeply honed skills and natural intuitions that make the names we come to recognize as synonymous with great bass. There’s no showing off here, there’s no need for that. On Mike’s versions of tracks like ‘I Thought About You‘, the bass and piano resonate in a way that’s gonna upset you, it’s gonna sit you down and put you in a real mood, and that’s a great thing.
Still, I can’t imagine what it must be like finding yourself recording between Jeff’s drums and Jonesy’s piano. But lord knows I’ve tried.
Which brings us back to the point, it’s our first Record of The Month. And it is so because I’m electronically informed that in the month and a bit since I’ve owned the record… Plays Well With Others has already reached number 5 on my ‘all time most listened to’ list.
If you know me well, you know that means I have listened to this record pretty much nonstop, and then some.
I recommend wholeheartedly that you head over to iTunes, or to Amazon, and download this album right now. You won’t regret it, and if you think you don’t like jazz. Give Jonesy a listen, you might just change your mind.
You can find him on JonesJazz.com and also follow that jazzman round on twitter and tell him personally how much you like his style, and the cute picture of his dog. Whilst you’re at it, follow us too if you like! We’d love to have you aboard.
Thank y’all and Stay tuned for more adventures in Jazz and anything else that takes our fancy right here.
*I don’t mean to encourage teen drinking, consumption of Mike Jones Records will most likely help you make many new neuronal connections, quite the opposite of that scotch you found in the top cupboard behind grandma’s bible.
PS. Think Jazz Music is old fashioned? Well…
… Maybe you’re a little old fashioned too.