Born: August 24 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Mimi Fox is at the peak of her career. Named Rising Star in DownBeat's 2003 Critics Poll, she is also profiled in that magazine's special feature, 66 Hot 6-Stringers: DownBeat's Look at the Guitarists Making Today's Scene, which presents 66 guitarists in the worlds of jazz, blues and beyond whose work is innovating, invigorating and perpetuating the guitar tradition.
From virtuoso solo guitar to performances of her original music with orchestra, Mimi truly does it all. She has performed with fellow guitarists Charlie Byrd and Charlie Hunter, as well as with Grammy award winner David Sanchez, saxophonist Don Lanphere, Manhattan Transfer's Janis Siegel, German Hammond B3 organ phenomenon Barbara Dennerlien, among many others. She has shared the bill with a wide array of artists including Diana Krall, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Burrell, and John Sebastian, and has been guest soloist with several orchestras, including Orchestra Sonoma, performing her original scores. Fox has composed music for theater and film, and has been featured on numerous television shows such as BET on Jazz. Mimi maintains a whirlwind touring schedule, playing major jazz clubs and festivals from New York to Tokyo, including tours of the Caribbean, Japan, Thailand, and Australia. She has performed at The Village Gate in New York City; Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.; Jazz Alley in Seattle; and Yoshi's, the Great American Music Hall, and Kimball's East in the San Francisco area. She is a favorite at jazz and music festivals such as the Jazz on the Water Festival, The Guinness Cork Ireland Jazz Festival, the Britt Festival, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, The San Francisco & San Jose Jazz Festivals, The Perth International Jazz Festival, Bumbershoot, Port Townsend, and Monterey Jazz Festivals. Phil Elwood, dean of the San Francisco music critics, singled her out: Outstanding performer? From the galaxy of stars at the JazzFest, guitarist Mimi Fox came across as the brightest.
Newly signed to guitarist Steve Vai's Favored Nations record label, she just finished recording a new CD to be released in March of 2004. Focusing on Mimi's original compositions, it features legendary bassist Ray Drummond and runs the gamut from blazing be-bop to greasy blues and beautiful ballads.
Her most recently released recording, Standards (Origin Records), is a solo guitar tour de force and has received rave reviews including one from Jim Josselyn in Cadence Magazine who said, This may be the finest solo jazz guitar playing I have ever heard. Charles Chapman called Mimi a fiery virtuoso in Just Jazz Guitar magazine, and said, This is jazz guitar at its best.
Kicks, her second CD as a leader, showcased her extraordinary soloing and featured special guests Joey DeFrancesco on organ, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, drummer Will Kennedy, and guitarist Charlie Hunter. Kicks quickly rose to fifth place on jazz radio charts and number 20 on Billboard jazz charts. Allaboutjazz.com awarded Kicks four stars out of four and raved, This is a strongly melodic collection, and one that swings out stylishly...Mimi Fox is a major talent...strongly recommended.
Born in New York City, she started playing drums at nine, and then guitar when she was ten. She was inspired by the wide variety of music enjoyed by her family - show tunes, classical, Dixieland, Motown - and her own youthful inclination toward pop, folk, and R&B. When she was fourteen, she bought her first jazz album because it was on sale. The one she chose had no guitarist, but she was blown away by it. That album, John Coltrane's classic Giant Steps, changed the course of her musical life.
She began touring right out of high school and eventually moved to San Francisco in 1979, where she became a sought-after musician. She is Chair of the Guitar Department at the innovative Jazzschool in Berkeley, California, and has appeared as guest clinician at the University of Southern California, Musician's Institute of Technology, CalArts, University of Connecticut, University of Oregon, the Britt Music Festival, and others. She has just written a book on jazz guitar studies to be published by Mel Bay Publications.
Mimi Fox, fleet-fingered on both steel string acoustic and hollow body jazz guitars, is a compelling musician, prolific composer, talented arranger, inspired teacher, and dynamic leader of her own band.