MIMI FOX B-3 TRIO/ One For Wes
Check out Mimi and the trio performing her composition Mr. White's Blues here.
Honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of Wes Montgomery, guitarist Mimi Fox presents a new project featuring her original pieces and well crafted arrangements of Montgomery's famous compositions. After touring and recording with such organ masters as the late great Joey DeFrancesco and Barbara Dennerlein, Mimi imbues the iconic B3 sound with dazzling virtuosity in a show that runs the gamut from greasy blues and funk, to luscious ballads and blazing bebop. Joining Mimi in the trio are Brian Ho and Lorca Hart, both of whom have played with many jazz legends and together with Mimi form an all-star group.
Mimi has been hailed by Guitar Player Magazine as “a prodigious talent who has not only mastered the traditional forms but has managed to reinvigorate them.” The internationally acclaimed guitarist and composer has been cited in numerous DownBeat Magazine International Critics Polls.
Born in New York City, Fox started playing drums at nine and guitar when she was ten. When she was fourteen, she bought her first jazz album—John Coltrane’s Giant Steps—and the music changed the course of her life. She began touring right out of high school and eventually settled in the San Francisco Bay area where she became a sought-after player.
Fox has performed and recorded with many jazz greats, including fellow guitarists Charlie Byrd and Charlie Hunter; Grammy-nominated saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Houston Person; vocalists Abbey Lincoln and Diana Krall; and powerhouse drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. She has also shared the stage with music legend Stevie Wonder. Mimi has toured the world, playing such major festivals as the Montreal, Guinness Cork, Perth International, and Jamaica Spice Jazz Festivals. Stateside, she has headlined at elite venues such as Monterey/Newport Festivals, The Blue Note, The Kennedy Center, Yoshi’s and the Great American Music Hall among countless others.
Mimi has released 12 CD’s as a leader including her last highly acclaimed outing This Bird Still Flies which received 4 stars from Downbeat Magazine and of which Jazz Times said: “Remarkable…a dazzler from start to finish.”
Listen to sample tracks.
Mimi's new all acoustic CD is available now!
First 100 orders receive a signed copy from Mimi!
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 in its beauty, emotional immediacy and stylistic reach. 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. Cited in numerous Downbeat Magazine International Critics Polls, 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.
“It’s like a rebirth,” she says. “I’m in the best place of my life and I wanted my music to reflect that. One of the things that I promised myself is to not put any limits on my music. There’s so much music that I love and I refuse to be pigeonholed. I’m very proud to be a jazz musician, and yet it’s not all of who I am. Though no matter what I play, I’m an improviser.”
The album opens with the rollicking, low-down “Get Away Blues,” an original piece that serves as a warm embrace for long-time Fox fans and newcomers alike. She’s just as inventive on standards like Kenny Dorham’s classic “Blue Bossa,” which opens with a long impromptu passage that wends through a variety of textures and moods before eventually revealing the familiar melody. Her full, resonant tone, biting attack, and supple phrasing demonstrate exactly why Joe Pass declared that Fox “plays with tremendous fire. She can do pretty much anything she wants on the guitar.”
She displays her folky pastoral streak on the lovely soundscape “Twilight In the Mangroves,” a piece written for her friend Brad Wendkos, founder of the online guitar instruction company TrueFire, after an idyllic evening boating in the waters off Tampa. “Textures of Loving” is another dedication, though it’s a piece she’s revisiting from her first album, 1985’s Against the Grain. Written for her maternal grandparents, who came to America from Russia as young teenagers at the turn of the century, the minor key piece evokes the sorrows of the Old World and the new lives they built here.
Fox has made no secret of her love of the Beatles or the formative influence that the Fab Four played in stoking her passion for the guitar as a kid. Building off the San Francisco String Trio’s critically hailed 2017 project May I Introduce To You (Ridgeway Music), a track-by-track reimagining of Sgt. Pepper’s, she includes a ravishing interpretation of “Blackbird” and a deeply funky version of “Day Tripper” on baritone guitar.
“Lennon and McCartney wrote such strong melodies, and ‘Day Tripper’ has that unforgettable riff,” she says. “I love the challenge of taking something so familiar, and honoring it and putting your stamp on it. I really think in a songwriting class you could teach ‘Blackbird’ next to ‘Skylark.’”
Fox brings similar imagination to the American Songbook standards “You Don't Know What Love Is” and “There Is No Greater Love,” creating a mini-song cycle by plunging into the depths with the former and ascending to rhapsodic heights with the latter. The album’s title track, a statement of resilience, defiance and celebration in the face of adversity, is also the project’s most surprising, as Fox joins forces with Andy Timmons, a guitarist far better known for shredding with the glam metal band Danger Danger than for his unplugged performances. A former label mate of Fox’s from her days on Steve Vai’s Favored Nations, he acquits himself with grace, fire and sensitivity on her shapely and thoughtful piece. Fox closes the album with an elegiac version of “America the Beautiful,” a rendition that feels like a balm in troubled times.
While This Bird Still Flies is Fox’s first all-acoustic project, she’s made a point of featuring her work on steel string guitar from the beginning, starting with several unplugged tracks on her first album, Against the Grain. “I feel like when I play acoustic, there’s an immediacy to it,” she says. “I love my jazz box, and I have a voice on that, but the acoustic guitar was my first instrument, through my teenage years playing Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, and Crosby, Still and Nash. Then I got into classical guitar, which I still love and play when I get the chance. It’s another side of my musical personality. I love the shading. I love the wood reverberating against my body. This album reflects more than half a century playing this instrument, and in a way it feels like coming home."
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."