Bassist Richard Lloyd Giddens Jr.'s debut as a leader Mimosas is a rich and colorful album that highlights an incredible band's enduring friendship, celebrates his hometown of Fresno, CA, and overflows with virtuosity and heart. Featuring a lineup including some of today's most creative musicians, including guitarist Storm Nilson (Red Oak Duo), pianist Adam Benjamin (Kneebody), saxophonist Matt Otto (Los Angeles Jazz Collective), and drummer Tomas Fujiwara (Mary Halvorson, John Zorn), Mimosas is full of remarkable soloing, fluid ensemble cohesion, and impeccably tasteful performances. But what stands out here is the genuine love shared between these musicians, palpably audible throughout.
Giddens is a world-class bassist, to be sure. He's performed throughout the world with such notable artists as Charlie Haden, STOMP, The Lost and Found Orchestra, Robert Glasper, Larry Goldings, Ideal Bread, Burning Ghosts, Joe LaBarbara, Mary Halvorson, Gavin Templeton and many others. Lately, he's appeared on a number of standout recordings on Orenda Records and John Zorn's iconic Tzadik label. When it came time to make his debut recording, however, he decided to bring it home. After living in both New York City and Los Angeles and playing with musicians from all over the world, Giddens brought his band to his hometown of Fresno, CA to make an album that spoke from the heart at home. In essence, Mimosas is Giddens's love letter to Central California.
Mimosas features original compositions by each band member, highlighting their shared language, as well as several covers by some of their songwriting heroes including Thelonius Monk, Elliott Smith, Paul Simon, and Ornette Coleman. The latter is of particular note, as Giddens is a protégé of the late great bassist and educator Charlie Haden, whose wife Ruth Cameron Haden contributed beautiful and thoughtful liner notes:
"Although Giddens conceived this recording as a showcase for each musician, what one notices immediately is the brilliant sound that each musician has on his instrument thus achieving the beautiful sound the band creates as a whole. Their ensemble performance has a strength, maturity and cohesiveness that derives from knowing one another well, and having performed together in various combinations for many years. They’re in sync with each other, both musically and spiritually. These sophisticated musicians, composers and improvisors have reunited to produce a finely woven tapestry of interconnected compositions and spontaneous performances." —Ruth Cameron Haden
At the heart of this beautiful debut is soulful and elegant expression. These masters of craft weave their way through this album with grace and sensitivity well beyond their years. Mimosas brims with heart and passion, and celebrates the value of community with class and conviction. Ultimately, this is music about the things that matter most: friendship, community, and love.