One of Camille Paglia's counter-arguments against the claims of certain particularly misleading types of feminism is that there are no notable female rock guitarists. In jazz, however, Mimi Fox could give Paglia a run for her money as she can...and already has...played ball in several jazz leagues. In her latest release, some of her fare, such as "Denny's Tune, shouldn't be excluded even from the smoother hinterlands of jazz. Its steeled drummed enhancements frame a guitarist and an ensemble of concrete talent, good taste, strength and clarity of tone, with upper-level technique.
She's The Woman also features caressing fretting in one of several Fox compositions, entitled "Raquel, Mi Amor. Unafraid of how close one can get through understatement and sensible silences, she eventually wrestles the limelight from pianist Randy Halberstadt with some strong romance of her own. The composition has a sticky melodic beauty as airy, longing, tasteful and lingering as a Nieto Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz wine.
Labeling Fox as a romantic or melodic player, however, would be a disservice. As a writer, arranger and performer, she isn't afraid of musical beauty. Her aesthetics, nonetheless, do not rely on the sleepy lingo that helped exhaust the popularity of some melodic types of jazz. This guitarist is as spunky, resourceful, happy, wise and world traveled as Pippi Longstocking. Take her "Buddy's Blues as a good example. Staunch Crouchites would probably fawn over her mainstreamed single note assailment to the blues. Halberstadt, once again, responds in kind. "Angel Eyes is a slowly heated Latinized piece whereupon Fox issues appealing ascending and montuno-like figures. Paul van Wageningen is also featured to good effect.
"Lullaby of the Leaves finds Fox by herself, although it is rather doubtful that anyone would fall asleep under the spell of its runs and slides. Can she swing? Yes, and she does so "On The Sunny Side of The Street. Indeed, "She's the Woman and with an "East Coast Attitude too.
Track Listing: 1. East Coast Attitude (M. Fox) 2. Sosua (M. Fox) 3. Buddy's Blues (M. Fox) 4. Angel Eyes (M. Dennis/Dorsey Brothers) 5. Darn That Dream (J. Van Heusen) 6. Raquel, Mi Amor (M. Fox) 7. Denny's Tune (M. Fox) 8. Lullaby of The Leaves (B. Petkere) 9. On The Sunny Side of The Street (J. McHugh, Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. Inc.) 10. She's a Woman (J. Lennon & P. McCartney)
Personnel: Tim Bulkley: Drums (1,3,9). Ray Drummond: Bass (1,3,9). Jon Evans: Bass (2,4-8), Vocals (2) & Handclaps (10). Mimi Fox: Guitar, Vocals (2) & Handclaps (10). Randy Halberstadt: Piano. Tom Miller: Steel drums (7) & Percussion/congas (2,4,7). Amanda Newstetter: Vocals (2). Paul van Wageningen: Drums (2,4-8,10).
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.