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Album Review

Making a solo guitar album work is not an easy task. It's not enough to be a technical wizard; veteran Mimi Fox is that and more. You also have to be able to blend a tasteful play list, sensitivity to the music, enough fresh ideas so as not to become dull, and a certain flamboyance (but not so much that it overwhelms the listener). Fox achieves all of that and more on her fourth album as a leader. The play list is made up of standards — not only those from the Great American Songbook, but jazz standards as well, written by Wayne Shorter, Tadd Dameron, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker. She gives each standard its due, being romantically pleasing on such oldies as "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" and modernly impressionistic on "Naima." "Wave" is a performance of a true artist. Fox keeps the listener in suspense, going through several sets of improvisations before she sneaks up on the melody, leading into a full exposition of it. During this track, Fox dabbles a bit in some classical music formations. Dameron's "Ladybird" provides the opportunity for a swashbuckling, let-it-all-hang-out, dazzling display of digital dexterity. Fox stays with the electric guitar, but it's not so highly juiced that the resonance drowns out or smears over the theme of the song she is performing. For example, on one of jazz artists' favorite tunes, "Stella By Starlight," there's a richness and a deepness that fully capture the essence of this romantic ballad. Here, and elsewhere on this fine release, Fox plays with a skilled passion that will quickly entice and snare any audience. Recommended.


Born: 1956 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Mimi "Fast Fingers" Fox is one of the very few established female jazz guitarists (along with Emily Remler and Mary Osborne), her passion and technical excellence gracing the albums and performances of Darol Anger, Rhiannon, and Terry Garthwaite. Primarily self-taught, Fox focused early on folk styles until she heard John Coltrane's seminal Giant Steps at age 14. Fox's early influences -- Aretha Franklin, Dixieland, and traditional jazz -- emerge in her evocative interpretations of jazz with swing...
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Standards, Mimi Fox
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