As a guy who played bass mostly in his basement and in small gigging and rehearsal situations, the MIM Jazz was perfect for me. I could toss it in a gig bag and head out without worrying if it got a few dings (like I would if it was a $1200 MIA Fender), and I could take a wrench to it without feeling guilty.
The bass is available in five colors: Lake Placid Blue, Black, Candy Apple Red, Brown Sunburst and Arctic White. Fender has a much better color selection for their Standard instruments in recent years.
The neck is maple with a "modern C" shape, and a 20-fret fingerboard made of either maple or rosewood. Of course it's a personal preference if you'd rather maple or rosewood. I used to like the rosewood fretboards on basses, but have come around to preferring maple. While it's not a "fast" neck by any means, it's definitely easy to navigate, and the string spacing makes a pick-free right-hand technique easy enough.
A pair of single-coil standard Jazz pickups are controlled by two volume knobs (one for each pickup) and a tone knob. The pickups are responsive and you'll get some very good tones, but aren't quite capable of the subtle nuances some players like in an American Jazz Bass.
Some players worry that there is a kind of stigma that goes with playing a less expensive instrument. Like, to be a real player you have to spend big bucks on your bass and then brag about it! Trust me: Nobody in your audience will care if you are playing a MIM Fender or MIA, and even if they do they won't be able to tell the difference. Great musicians make instruments great, not the other way around!
Sound and Play
Every MIM Jazz I've ever owned has sounded very good. You get the standard Jazz sounds you're looking for, from the bridge pickup Jaco-type tones to rounder neck pickup tones. I dial both my pickups to the limit, then back off just a touch on the neck pickup. I've always been happy with what these basses give me.
Of course there is room for improvement, and I do think a pickup upgrade can make a good bass sound great. I always find MIM pickups to be a little weak on both guitars and basses. That said, if you're talking about off-the-shelf tone and value for the money it's hard to beat this Fender. Does an American Fender sound better? Of course. Is it $600 better? Again, for my needs, I never thought so.