Film Maker/Bassist Mimi Jones and Bertha Hope at work!
Director Mimi Jones, multi talented bassist, vocalist and composer, 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. “As a child my parents always played music around the house,” remarks Mimi, “besides their traditional roots they had tons of records from the greats like Gene Ammons, Miles Davis, James Brown, Gloria Lynn, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, The Doors, Beatles, BeeGees, Barbara Streisand, Al Green, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, Peter Paul and Mary. Mimi started buying her own records and showed such enthusiasm to play the guitar that her father enrolled her in the Harlem School of the Arts. There she learned the classical guitar and eventually the instrument of her choice, the electric guitar. By the age of twelve she was studying guitar with her first teacher, Jim Bartow, taking classes in dance, chorus, drums, music theory, piano and composition which all helped her secure a spot at Fiorello La Guardia High School of Music and Performing Arts.
Once there she realized that the school didn’t have a guitar program so she was quickly switched to cello and placed into the orchestra. However, during cello practice time she could be found in the mirror spinning her comrade’s bass and playing the “Barney Miller” theme. “I was spotted doing this one afternoon by the band director, Justin Diccioccio, and he asked if I played the bass. I said no and he responded saying “well you do now because we need a bassist for the jazz band.” “This was an exciting experience because for the first time I found my own musical voice.”
Mimi began her relationship with the bass by receiving classical lessons from Linda McKnight and attending the Jazz Mobile Workshop to study with world-class bassist Lisle Atkinson who became her first mentor and even supplied Mimi with her first bass, a Juzak. “I’ve often said that the bass chose me,” said Mimi “and there were so many early experiences that confirmed that feeling.”
Mimi’s determination and talent helped her to receive a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Music. While at the Manhattan School she continued off campus to study, attend workshops or mentor with saxophonist Charles Davis, Barry Harris, Ron Carter, Milt Hinton, Dr. Billy Taylor, Yusef Latif, Max Roach, and Latin bass techniques with Guillermo Edgehill. “I even missed my own graduation at the Manhattan School because I got my first music tour days before the graduation and had to fly to Japan, and you know, I’ve been doing music ever since.”
About “Seeking Hope”
‘Seeking Hope’ is a documentary told from different points of view, about the life journey of legendary pianist Ms. Bertha Hope. As we explore her current life and past life through her narration and interviews with the people closest to her, we get a true sense of her challenges as a African
American jazz woman, and the challenges she has overcame throughout 7 decades in the music industry. Character jazz bassist Mimi Jones, who is one half of Bertha’s age seeks hope to be successful as a jazz
luminery, but fearing for her musical future when examining the major changes in the music industry, she is seeking hope. Initially she is covering the story for Bertha, but eventually begins to realizes the hope she seeks is the very Hope standing right in front of her.