Bay Area guitarist Mimi Fox makes me wish I had paid more attention taking guitar lessons as a teenager. Ms. Fox is not merely a meticulous technician, she is a unique guitar stylist and gifted arranger. Her new CD is titled She's The Woman
, which may or may not be a boast. If it is, it's certainly not an idle one.
The opening "East Coast Attitude" is a showcase for Fox's dexterity and invention and is one of three tracks featuring jazz great Ray Drummond on bass. Record bins are littered with product from players who shoot for the sound barrier with their picking, and this track does go by at a brisk tempo. But Ms. Fox has a rare ability to play fast without sacrificing phrasing or meaning, finger speed just being another means to an end here.
Not every cut is a barn burner. The album features many different types of moods and features different aspects of her playing; "Sosua" and "Two for the Road" have a Caribbean feel (the former featuring some really attractive piano from Randy halberstadt), while "Buddy's Blues" is just what it sounds like, and the album also features a number of standards variously arranged. Fox gives a gorgeous solo reading of "Darn that Dream", uses harmonics creatively in stating the theme to "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and slyly syncopates the Beatles' "She's a Woman" with some nice help from Jon Evans on bass. Throughout the entire album she expertly uses a variety of chord voicings.
I'm not someone that is easily impressed by music made on the electric guitar, but Mimi Fox is an exceptional talent. Her playing shines in every setting she is set in on this CD's ten tracks. She's the Woman
is the work of a master guitarist.