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Reconnecting with Robben Ford

So the last two days I’ve been up early and out all day in that pollen ladened air surveying and at night I have been tied and itchy and not in the mood for writing, more in the mood for sleeping! Anyway Blues Wednesday has come and gone as well as Thursday which is often a jazz day so this afternoon I decided to listen to someone who combines the two blues jazzman guitarist Robben Ford! I first listened to the album that introduced me to Robben Ford Discovering the Blues released in 1997 by Avenue Jazz Vault Classics the album features live recordings from 1972. The album opens with a cover of B.B. King’s “Sweet Sixteen” and a great Ford guitar solo! The other six tracks on the album include a cover of John Lee Hooker’s “It’s My Own Fault”, The track “You Don’t Know What Love is” a jazz vocalist standard showcases Ford’s saxophone prowess. “Raining in My Heart” is a Chicag blues number that showcases the other band members Phil Nagle on keyboards, Sam Poplin on bass and Jim Baum on drums. All in all a good listen!

For my run today I put on all of my Robben Ford tracks on shuffle and listened! Good Stuff! This evening I listened to Ford’s most recent release Soul on Ten another collection of ten live tracks that showcase Ford’s guitar playing as well as his band

Ford has been nominated for a Grammy four times and played with a wide variety of people including Joni Mitchell (The Hissing of Summer Lawn), Miles Davis, George Harrison, Phil Lesh, Bonnie Raitt, Claus Ogerman, and Michael McDonald as well as others. From his website seems that the 58 year old (same age as this graybeard and he has lots of hair!) guitarist grew up idolizing the same folks I did. From his bio at his website”

He began to teach himself guitar at age thirteen upon hearing the two guitarists from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. In the late 1960’s, Ford frequented the Fillmore  and Winterland Auditoriums in San Francisco to see Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Albert King, B.B. King and all of the progenitors of blues. “It was an incredible time for electric guitar,” Ford recalls.

On his interest in jazz, Ford says,” I fell in love with the sax playing of Paul Desmond and The Dave Brubeck Quartet, and before long found Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, Roland Kirk, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, and of course, Miles Davis.” These influences have stayed with Ford, playing a large part in his particular blend of jazz and blues that define him as a guitarist and allow him to play in a wide variety of settings.

I’ve only listened to Soul on Ten a couple of times and after listening tonight I don’t know why it hasn’t been more! Ford’s guitar work is great on the album as is his band which features: Athens-born drummer Toss Panos, bassist Travis Carlton is the 26-year-old son of jazz great Larry Carlton, with whom Ford also played and Organist Neal Evans provides the distinctive B3 on five of the tracks. The tracks that Evans plays on were the ones that stood out for me on my first listen tonight! You can read more about the album here

So if you don’t know Robben Ford check him out! As for me I’m listening to Soul on Ten again!

Here’s “Supernatural” the opening track on Soul on Ten