Internationally renowned guitar virtuosa, composer, and recording artist Mimi Fox is a six-time DownBeat magazine International Critics Poll winner and has been recognized by writers and colleagues alike as one of the most eloquent guitarists on today’s scene. In one of many feature stories, Guitar Player magazine hailed Mimi as “a prodigious talent who has not only mastered the traditional forms but has managed to reinvigorate them.”
She has performed and recorded with a who’s who of great artists, including Abbey Lincoln, Joey DeFrancesco, Charlie Byrd, Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall, and Stevie Wonder, among countless others. She performs at prestigious concert halls worldwide; recent sold-out shows include those at the Kennedy Center, Montreal Jazz Festival, and Newport Folk Festival.
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 it 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. The new reviews rolling in could not be more glowing:
“Utter mastery, four stars! “- Downbeat Magazine
” A Tour de Force from one of the preeminent practitioners of our time ” – Midwest Record
” A dazzler from start to finish…remarkable. ” -Jazz Times
” Wonderful…glows like a candle. ” – Jazz Weekly
As a composer, Mimi has written and performed original scores for orchestras, documentary films, and dance projects and received grants from prestigious funders, such as Meet the Composer and the California Arts Council. Mimi has repeatedly received grants from the William James Association and California Arts Council to give concerts and workshops in California prisons as part of the highly successful California Arts in Corrections program. A devoted educator and clinician, Mimi has taught master classes worldwide while serving as associate professor at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley and adjunct professor at New York University.
Whether delivering jaw-dropping solo sets, performing dazzling duets with sympathetic partners, or leading a hard-charging combo, Mimi is a consummate improviser who seizes the imagination of her listeners with her passion, soul, and unerring ear for beauty.
HENRY JOHNSON / Guitarist, Composer, Recording Artist
The Chicago-born guitarist began playing at age twelve. While spending some formative time in Memphis, he started playing gospel music at age thirteen. By age fourteen, Johnson was playing in R&B groups. Although Johnson’s parentsbrought him up hearing the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Joe Williams, and other artists of that era, it was not until 1967 that Johnson was formally introduced to jazz by hearing guitarist Wes Montgomery. In 1969, Johnson and his family then moved back to Chicago where he developed a reputation on the south side as a good local jazz guitarist. In 1976, he went on the road with jazz organist Jack McDuff and was called to work with vocalist, Donny Hathaway in 1977.
In 1979, Johnson began playing with jazz pianist, Ramsey Lewis. And in 1985, jazz legend, Joe Williams added Johnson to his regular group. Johnson’s musical roots run deep into gospel, blues, and jazz. His strongest and earliest influences were Kenny Burrell, George Benson, and most significantly, Wes Montgomery. While influenced by these great guitarists, Johnson also cites the music of Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, big bands, and jazz orchestras as integral forces which shaped his sound and style.
“You’re The One”, his recording debut for MCA/Impulse! achieved #1 status on both the Radio & Records NAC chart, and Contemporary Jazz chart for two months – a rare occurrence for a first recording. This recording also won a five star rating in Downbeat magazine, and was nominated for a Grammy. Jazz Times reviewer Diane Patrick called “You’re The One” “A thoughtful piece of work which may well become a jazz guitar classic.”
Johnson’s follow-up recordings, “Future Excursions” and “Never Too Much” also reached the top of the charts. New Beginnings was Johnson’s debut recording for the Heads Up International jazz label. Johnson’s music has been a favorite at radio stations world wide since the release of his very first CD, “You’re the One” on MCA/Impulse! and the appeal of his music continued with the release of his second recording for Heads Up International, titled “Missing You.”
In addition to his solo recording projects, Johnson has found time to record with the likes of Ramsey Lewis, vocalists, Joe Williams and Vanessa Ruben, and saxophonist Richie Cole among many others. He has performed with Nancy Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Angela Bofil, Dizzy Gillespie, the Boston Pops, Sonny Stitt, Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr., Stanley Turrentine, Dr. Billy Taylor, and organist Jimmy Smith, James Moody, David “Fathead” Newman, Terry Gibbs, Bobby Watson, Nicholas Payton, and many other great jazz artists.
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