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KSDS kicked off their summer Jazz Live concert series with a bang last night, featuring smoking jazz guitarist Mimi Fox in an intimate duet with double bassist Rob Thorsen at the Saville Theatre.

Fox is a critically acclaimed musician--having received accolades from giants like Joe Pass and Jim Hall, as well as winning the DownBeat magazine critics poll six times.

She excels in the mainstream jazz mode--with a heavy dose of blues imbuing every offering.

Opening with an original, "Blues For Two," Fox hit the gates running, drawing liberally from blues-scale ideas and startling placement of harmonics. Her mastery of harmonics extends well beyond what is in the typical jazz guitar bag--she actually solos using them exclusively--creating walking bass lines and complete chords to boot.

Thorsen's vibrant pedal- tone set the stage for a pumped reading of "Lover Man," upon which she soloed in an almost country music fashion before laying out the melody in double-time.

Fox's arrangement of "All Blues," was very quirky, indeed, sounding like a mixture of Dom Minasi's totally "out" version and the Stones' "Satisfaction," for some reason. At any rate, Fox tore the tune up with her formidable chops and elastic sense of phrasing. Thorsen got a big, meaty solo in--slurring and sculpting certain notes and phrases.

The guitarist went solo for two pieces--a surprising swing version of "500 Miles High," that raced along on muted bass lines and open-string chords--only occasionally referencing the melody. She stuck much closer to the vest, with a gorgeous interpretation of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square," ornamenting the theme with tasteful chord-melody.

Thorsen got a huge amount of solo feature on "Alone Together," adapting the theme with flamenco flourishes, fat glissandi and quavering double-stops, before Fox joined in kicking it up a notch with a fine essay herself.

Photo by Tom Westerlin

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