Whether delivering jaw-dropping solo sets, performing dazzling duets with sympathetic partners, or leading a hard-charging combo, Mimi is a consummate improviser who seizes the imagination of her listeners with her passion, soul, and unerring ear for beauty.
" Beyond her passion and technical virtuosity, Fox plays with a profundity that only results from a lifetime of commitment and total immersion in one's art. " - Guitar Player Magazine
Internationally renowned guitarist/composer/recording artist Mimi Fox has been named a winner in 6 consecutive Downbeat Magazine international critic's polls and has been recognized by writers and colleagues alike as one of the most eloquent guitarists on today's scene. In one of many feature stories, Jazz Times hailed Mimi as "a blazing fret master who combines be-bop infused lines with an abundance of soul...spinning solos that unfurl with surprise twists like expertly tailored short stories. " In a further nod to Mimi's guitar artistry, and in conjunction with Heritage Guitars' 30th anniversary, the historic Kalamazoo guitar company has rolled out the Mimi Fox Artist Signature model.
Mimi has performed/recorded with some of the music world's most commanding players, including fellow guitarists Charlie Byrd, Stanley Jordan, and Charlie Hunter, Grammy-nominated saxophonists Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez, Houston Person, and the late Don Lanphere, vocalists Tierney Sutton, Kevin Mahogany, and Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), B3 organ masters Joey DeFrancesco, Barbara Denerlein and Dr. Lonnie Smith, and powerhouse drummers Billy Hart and Terri Lyne Carrington. She has also shared the stage with legends Stevie Wonder, and Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul, and Mary) and toured as a featured artist with Patty Larkin's Vanguard Records-produced La Guitara project. Her YouTube videos have received hundreds of thousands of views.
Flying Solo: Techniques for a Lush Solo Guitar Vocabulary
- by Mimi Fox
Playing solo guitar is a challenging but extremely rewarding pursuit. It’s also an important aspect of becoming a masterful jazz guitarist, because all of the skills that are required for solo guitar are essential to developing a complete understanding of the harmonic, rhythmic and melodic possibilities of this majestic instrument.
I found studying classical guitar for several years to be a great foundation for all of my subsequent solo jazz guitar development. In my practicing today, I still spend time playing through Bach, Villa Lobos, Vivaldi, Mozart, etc. This music is highly enjoyable to play, and it’s a great way to develop your ear and your technique, as well as strengthening your sight-reading.
MIMI FOX/This Bird Still Flies:
A solo guitar tour de force by one of the preeminent practitioners of our age, Fox gets back to her acoustic roots and takes you back to the 70s when solo guitar records like this that made your jaw drop came along a lot more frequently than once in a blue moon. A master class and great music all at once, this is a sterling example of why so many of us have guitars in the basement in their cases gathering dust. We can't give it up but we're too blinded by the light to compete with this---even just for fun. Smoking throughout.
ACOUSTIC FLIGHT PATH
ACCLAIMED JAZZ GUITARIST MIMI FOX TALKS ABOUT HER NEW ALL-ACOUSTIC ALBUM, THIS BIRD STILL FLIES, AND HER INVENTIVE APPROACH TO COMPOSING, ARRANGING AND IMPROVISING
by Shawn Persinger
When we last wrote about internationally renowned guitar virtuoso and music educator Mimi Fox (summer 2018), she was still enjoying the honeymoon phase with her new Builder’s Edition K14ce. As Fox shared at the time, she was returning to her acoustic roots and looking forward to using her new Taylor on an all-acoustic album she was getting ready to record. The release,This Bird Still Flies, is now available, and listeners are bound to be enthralled by this latest installment of Fox’s improvisational magic.
Mimi Fox on A Guitar Player Podcast
Today, we cruise the 'copter up the Bay Area, north of San Francisco, and drop in on renowned jazz virtuoso MIMI FOX. Playing both acoustic (a Taylor steel-string) and electric (her signature-model Heritage jazz box), Mimi reveals some of her favorite approaches to improvisation, song arranging, and performing.
TrueFire Live Video Cast
Mimi Fox: This Bird Still Flies (Origin)
A review of the guitarist's first full-length acoustic outing
Nothing humbles a jazz guitarist accustomed to playing a solidbody or archtop instrument quite like an acoustic flattop, even if it’s a top-tier Taylor cutaway. There are, of course, musicians who can switch-hit with deceptive ease—Pat Metheny, for one—and now the same can be said of Mimi Fox with the release of this, her first full-length acoustic outing.
It’s a dazzler from start to finish, a resonant mix of pop, jazz, blues, funk, and Americana that reaffirms Fox’s remarkable artistry in a fresh light, thanks in no small part to her skills as a composer, and perhaps even more so as an audacious arranger. Longtime fans won’t be surprised by the virtuosity she often displays while deploying fluid arpeggios or exploiting the Taylor’s robust dynamic range with hammer-ons, pull-offs, palm-muting, hand percussion, chordal propulsion, and crisp, expertly modulated flatpicking excursions.
Mimi Fox’s Jazzy Cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” + “Blue Bossa” Acoustic Guitar Sessions
Mimi Fox is uniquely positioned to wow you with her playing, and then pull the curtain back and show you how she did it. And her jazz guitar chops and her teaching pedigree (Berklee College of Music, Yale, the California Jazz Conservatory) are on full display in this Acoustic Guitar Session.
Watch Mimi’s take on the The Beatles classic “Blackbird,” which flies all up and down the neck with a series of harmonizations, arpeggio inversions, and other great jazz guitar techniques. She also gives a mini-lesson on how she arranged and plays this piece, so get your pencils (and guitars) out! Then, she performs and explains her take on the jazz classic “Blue Bossa.”
Video Lesson: A Jazzy Arrangement of ‘America the Beautiful’
The simple yet evocative melody of “America the Beautiful” has always moved me. When I was preparing to record my most recent album, This Bird Still Flies (Origin Records), I wanted to come up with an arrangement of “America” that would be fresh and personal while retaining the original song’s beauty and simplicity. As an arranger and improviser, there were many routes I could have taken, but I chose to keep the tempo relatively slow and stately, so that the melody would really stand out. And while there are a few tricky passages, I stayed pretty close to the fundamental harmony, so it shouldn’t be too hard to play. I hope you will enjoy learning my interpretation of “America” as much as I enjoyed arranging it.
Mimi's new all acoustic CD is available now!
"A prodigious talent who has not only mastered the traditional forms but has managed to reinvigorate them."
- Guitar Player Magazine
As a virtuosic improviser who’s collaborated with many of jazz’s greatest figures, Mimi Fox has earned her spot in the jazz guitar pantheon. But the jazz tradition is only one of the powerful currents feeding her music. With her 11th album as a leader or co-leader, This Bird Still Flies, Fox delivers a seamless but far-ranging album that’s breathtaking it its beauty, emotional immediacy and stylistic reach. Slated for release on Origin Records on Feb. 15, 2019, the all acoustic recording captures a commanding artist in full - transforming folk tunes, jazz standards, original compositions and popular songs into exquisitely crafted improvisational vehicles.
Over the years she’s performed and recorded with an intergenerational who’s who of jazz guitar stars, including Charlie Byrd, Kenny Burrell, Mundell Lowe, Charlie Hunter and Stanley Jordan. A six-time winner of Down Beat Magazine’s International Critics Poll, the Bay Area guitarist is recognized by colleagues and writers as one of the most eloquent six-string improvisers on the scene. While she’s best known for wielding her namesake Heritage Guitar Mimi Fox Signature model arch-top, spinning solos that unfurl with surprise twists like expertly tailored short stories, Fox is equally spellbinding on six and 12-string acoustic guitars.
Recently signed by Taylor Guitars as an endorsing “partner,” she’s increasingly returned to her acoustic roots. As with all great musicians, Fox’s creative output is inextricably linked to her life off stage, and This Bird Still Flies is a dispatch from the other side of rough waters. A successful fight against breast cancer coupled with a devastating breakup left her determined to pursue her musical vision with renewed focus and intensity.
Listen to sample tracks.
ALBUM WITH SAN FRANCISCO STRING TRIO
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles' Sgt. Peppers
REVIEW FROM JAZZ WEEKLY
"In celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ ground breaking Sgt Pepper album, Mads Tolling/vi, Mimi Fox/g and Jeff Denson/b string together the material from that records and add new ideas and tones.
There’s fun with and without frets as the team swings nostalgia on “When I’m Sixty-Four” and Tolling is Grappelli-rich with a wide vibrato. The team delivers pizzicato delights on “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and gets exotic with “Within You Without You.” Denson adds some nice vocals on the Bartok inspired “Fixing A Hole” and the string chirping “ Getting Better” while “A Day In The Life” is haughtingly intimate. A complement to the landmark rock session."
Upcoming Engagements 2020
January 16 - 17
NAMM Show/Taylor Guitars Concert, Anaheim, CA
Feinstein's at Hotel Nikko/San Francisco, CA
With vocalist Kyra Gordon, Janis Ian/Janis Joplin Tribute
Jazzschool Workshop/Berkeley, CA
The Genius of Wes Montgomery
February 23 - March 1
Olivia - Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta/Puerta Vallarta, Mexico
March 6 - 7
The Guitar Sanctuary/Dallas, TX
Freight and Salvage/Berkeley, CA
Rhonda Benin's "Just Like A Woman"
April 5 POSTPONED
Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society/Half Moon Bay, CA
with B3 Trio
New date: July 12, 2020
April 11 CANCELLED
Central Washington University/Ellensburg, WA
Women in Jazz Day
April 18 - 19 POSTPONED
Michigan Philharmonic/Plymouth, MI
New date: September 19, 2020
Danville Music/Danville, CA
Piedmont Piano Company/Oakland, CA
Museum of Making Music/Carlsbad, CA
June 8 - 9
TrueFire Live/St. Petersburg, FL
July 2 - 5 POSTPONED
National Women's Music Festival/Middleton, WI
New dates: July 1-4, 2021
San Francisco Jazz Festival/San Francisco, CA
Acoustic Project with Pamela Rose
Auburn State Theatre/Auburn, CA
SF String Trio Sgt. Pepper Project
San Jose Jazz Festival/San Jose, CA
Jazzschool Guitar Intensive/Berkeley, CA
August 22 - 29
Rancho La Puerta/Tecate, Mexico
Monterey Jazz Festival/Monterey, CA
with B3 Trio
Jazz at the Pollock Series/College of the Desert
Palm Desert, CA
November 7 - 14
Rancho La Puerta/Tecate, Mexico
with bassist Cindy Browne
Minnesota Guitar Society/St. Paul, MN