Primary Instrument: Bass
Born and raised in New York City, Miriam Sullivan was exposed to music by her parents. Their great taste and variety in music largely influenced her early on in life. At the age of twelve she had her first formal instruction in music, studying classical guitar with Jim Bartow at the Harlem School of the Arts. She became a regular face in just about all of the studios there, including dance, drama, visual art, percussion, piano and chorus. Shortly after, Miriam was accepted into the Fiorello Laguardia School of Music and Performing Arts, where she switched from guitar to play cello in the orchestra, ultimately switching to the bass. With the guidance of her fellow peers, band direct and educator Justin Diccioccio, she began playing in the school jazz band. This experience and the help of bass teacher Linda Mc Night and guitarist Rodney Jones, propelled her into the future where she would attend and four years later receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory. Miriam also attended the Jazz Mobile Workshops in Harlem every Saturday where she studied with the great bassist and mentor Lisle Atkinson and the soulful Charles Davis. She attended pianist Barry Harris’ workshops on a weekly basis and was even awarded a scholarship fund to attend Jazz in July program in Saratoga NY from the late great Milt Hinton.
Since then Miriam has gone on to share the stage with such talents as the great Lionel Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Rachel Z, Jesse Davis, Ingrid Jenson, Denis Charles, Josh Redmen and Onaje Allan Gumbs just to name a few.
“Sullivan puts down plush, rhythmically driving bass lines,” croons the Chicago Tribune.
Miriam has been a reoccurring face since 2000 at the Kennedy Center’s annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival in Washington D.C. Playing in bands led by pianist Rachel Z and Joanne Brackeen, Miriam Sullivan would eventually bring her own project to the stage in 2004 and feature such fresh talents as Nasheet Waits(dr), Tia Fuller(sax), Miki Hayama(piano) and Ambrose Akinmisure (Tpt).
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.
In 2006 the Department of State and Jazz at Lincoln Center elected the group 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 looks for new opportunities in order to aid her brothers and sisters there.
Although Miriam plays acoustic bass, baby bass, electric bass, and numerous styles of music including jazz, funk, hip hop, Cuban, free, folk, pop she thrives on remaining open to learning unfamiliar sounds.
She is featured on saxophonist Tia Fuller’s last recording “Pillar of Strength” and her latest release “Healing Space”, as well as pianist Mala Waldron’s new release “Always There”.
Currently Miriam is developing her latest project, the Mimi Jones Band, featuring Miriam on bass and voice, performing original material. Mimi Jones is Miriam’s alter ego whom she discovered earlier this year. The music can best be described as worldly, funky, and soulful. Mimi Jones has appeared at the Kitano Hotel, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, the Puffin Foundation, Sista’s Place, and the St. Nick’s Pub. Miriam is anticipating the release of her awaited debut CD in 2007.