ROBBEN FORD is an American blues, jazz and rock guitarist perhaps best known for his work with the jazz-pop ensemble L.A. Express [he replaced Larry Carlton on guitar] the group who played on several Joni Mitchell albums, including The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Miles of Aisles.
He worked briefly with Miles Davis in 1986 and collaborated with George Harrison, Larry Carlton and Kiss.
Ford was named one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century” by Musician magazine.
Ford has recently been touring and playing with the Supersonic Blues Machine [their album was reviewed by RAW RAMP and described as filled with “unlimited emotions and beautiful instrumental performances…” And “a master-class in the way that the blues should be done …”
He’ll be appearing at the Notodden Blues Festival [4-7 August with the Supersonic Blues Machine] and the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival. But you’ll also be able to see him in the UK when he comes over to play tracks from his 2015 album Into the Sun.
This disc boasted guest appearances by such legendary Blues Icons as Grammy Award-winning musician Keb’ Mo’, singer ZZ Ward, Warren Haynes, Sonny Landreth, Robert Randolph and Tyler Bryant.
To prepare us for the UK shows we listened to “Into The Sun” —
“Rose of Sharon” brushes soft. As if floret-like sand-glume rhythms brush dustily against your bare feet on the Los Cerritos Wetlands. The sorrow is accentuated by a mournful organ. This is saving and refreshing.
“Day of the Planets” is a choppy-funk delight. With sharp slices of rhythm guitar, twinkled by some sequin-like bright moments of intensity, and moreof those fleecy and salving vocals. This will ease you into your weekend chair.
“Howlin’ at the Moon” clearly demonstrates its blues heritage but this is far rockier. It’s still kinda meek though — although never spiritless — so don’t expect Led Zeppelin! Instead, this is mild and aristocratic rock. With hushed tones and luxuriant guitar-work.
It’s nice to hear the clarity of ZZ Ward’s vocals on “Breath of Me” and this duet is one of the highlights of the album. Luminescent guitars loop and spiral, in fragrant air — as they are chased by the soulful female vocals. This might be humble and gentle …. But it’s filled with feeling.
The album concludes with the sulky and sluggish hymn “Stone Cold Heaven” featuring Tyler Bryant. This has some excellent backing vocals, chirpy organ and plenty of electrifying twin-guitar wizardry.
This album is full of stripped back magnificence and easy-going, cool-headed grandeur. Like a good whiskey it’s meant to be sipped and savoured …
Into the Sun by Robben Ford is out now on PROVOGUE RECORDS
Words: @neilmach 2016 ©