Mimi Fox at Paschal Winery

Mimi Fox's new CD, "Standards, Old and New," is a collection of solo-guitar gems that breathe fresh life into pop music by such artists as Ira Gershwin and Bob Dylan.

Along with Gershwin's "I Can't Get Started" and Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," look for updated arrangements of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," Richard Rodgers' and Lorenz Hart's "Have You Met Miss Jones?" and John Lennon's and Paul McCartney's "She's Leaving Home."

"That's what I've done with all of the standards — whether they be old ones or new ones — on this album," Fox says during a telephone interview from her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Even though I'm an instrumentalist, I try to bring a vocal quality to my guitar," Fox says. "Critics say the songs' lyrics are an intrinsic part of my playing."

Fox's "Standards, Old and New" was released early this year on the Origin Records label based in Seattle.

"They're an artist-friendly label," Fox says. "They gave me complete creative freedom."

Fox will perform songs from the new CD at 7 p.m. Friday, March 22, at Paschal Winery & Vineyard, 1122 Suncrest Road, Talent. Tickets cost $25, $10 for students, and may be purchased by emailing info@siskiyouinstitute.com or calling 541-488-3869.

The show kicks off The Siskiyou Institute's spring lineup of concerts. See www.siskiyouinstitute.com for a comprehensive schedule.

Jazz is an international language, according to Fox.

"Jazz musicians from around the world can get together and know the songs from the top," Fox says. "Most of us use music from the Great American Songbook as a springboard for improvisation."

Classically trained musicians living in New York City, such as Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter, wrote the pop songs in the '20s, '30s and '40s.

"Another important part of the Great American Songbook are composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn," Fox says. "This music is an armature that we use."

In the '50s and '60s, jazz artists Lester Young, Bud Powell, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Christian and Ella Fitzgerald — to name a few — improvised pop music's traditional chord changes and melodies to create songs within the songs.

"This was the popular music of my parents' generation," Fox says. "The more modern jazz composers — John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea — also use the Great American Songbook. But they have composed their own arrangements that have become the standard repertoire for musicians worldwide.

"Jazz is more revered abroad than it is in America," Fox says. "Other cultures appreciate the art form. I think it's because these cultures are much older and more sophisticated."

Fox's parents were big fans of jazz and show tunes, and she was exposed to these styles at a very young age.

"My sister loved the older folk music," she says. "I think that's why I stepped out of the box and did jazz takes on songs that I heard as a little girl."

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