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Mimi Fox at the Dana Point Community House

Jim Santella By

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Mimi Fox
Solo Guitar Concert Series
Dana Point Community House
Dana Point, California
April 21, 2006


About an hour's drive south of Los Angeles, the quaint beach community of Dana Point sits nestled between rolling hills and coastal bluffs that overlook the harbor. Along with recreational boating, sport fishing, bicycling, parasailing, surfing and a host of similar leisure activities, the city pays homage to the arts in general—jazz and blues in particular.

This year's Lord of the Strings Solo Guitar Concert Series in Dana Point continued with a fitting Jazz Appreciation Month performance by veteran jazz guitarist Mimi Fox. In the intimate setting of the city's Community House, she held the audience spellbound with her straight-ahead interpretations of classic standards and originals with several interesting twists.

Fox employs an interesting technique, where her right hand changes position in order to attain a suitable timbre for each phrase. She adds percussive slaps on the body of the guitar and lightly strums the strings from the very bottom of the instrument for occasional effects, but it's her basic two positions that are most frequently employed. With a pick, her melodies flow clearly with overlapping harmony and a crystal clear enunciation. With her fingers, her melodies float with the kind of natural caress that has brought us great finger-picking music for centuries. Fox moves seamlessly between these two techniques to interpret each song as she wishes. The result, naturally, is a form of communication that the audience and performer intuitively share.

Fox began the program with a tender reading of "Willow Weep for Me, which casually ebbed and flowed with a built-in blues texture. She followed with another favorite, "Alone Together, which brought to mind the influence of Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell.

A Beatles tune, "She's Leaving Home, was performed acoustically recalling some of Lennon & McCartney best adventures. Her acoustic interpretation of "When the Saints Go Marching In, brought a genuine feeling of down-home togetherness to the room. It was fitting that this took place in the quaint surroundings of Dana Point.

Following the intermission, Fox brought the audience three more standards that elicited appreciative sighs. Songs like "Lullaby of the Leaves, "Someone to Watch Over Me, and "Skylark, never fail to connect convincingly. In Fox's hands, they were like medicine for the soul. "Caravan topped it off with a creative bang, as Fox drove the exotic melody to fruition, resulting in calls for an encore. Her own composition, "Buddy's Blues, got up-close and personal with the audience, ensuring an upbeat message to close a winning performance from Fox. The night ended with smiles ear to ear around the room.

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