Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

148

Ricky Ford Quartet: Balaena

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Ricky Ford is a gifted, if underrated veteran tenor saxophonist who has been making records for some twenty-five years now. He carries forth the tenor tradition with a big sound reminiscent of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, but with a style that employs harmony and meter in such a way that distinguishes him from his predecessors. This CD, entitled Balaena , finds Ford heading an excellent quartet featuring George Cables, Cecil McBee, and Ed Thigpen. Recorded live in Paris last summer at the Sunset Jazz Club, the material is in a straight ahead hard-bop vein, and features all original compositions by Ford. While the music may not be groundbreaking, the high level of the group's performance; the interplay, as well as the individual statements and contributions from each member of the unit, makes this disc more than worth the price of admission.

The session kicks off with Pie Crust , a 32-bar up tempo tune that gives Ford free reign to indulge in some pretty impressive improvisations. Check out the way he metrically modulates. He all over the place! Of course, he knows where the one is; with Cecil Mcbee laying it down behind you, it would be hard not to find it. George Cables, who has worked with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, and Dexter Gordon, really digs in on his solo, swinging beautifully and contributing to the momentum of the group. The lightly latin Blues Work is a soulful offering by Ford and company. Essentially a minor blues, this cut captures the raw emotion of Ford's tenor as he wails, honks and screams. The subtlety and economy in which drummer Ed Thigpen lays down the groove is an important contrast to Ford's intensified performance. The title cut is an blowing tune that that goes between up-tempo swinger to ballad with some wild extended improvisations from Ford's fiery sax, while Blues A Hoy is again, another minor blues that begins with a solo bass introduction by Cecil McBee, who then plays a repetitive bass figure between the tonic and fourth, setting up a latin groove for the ensemble. The set closes with the slightly Monkish In Walked Bish , an up-tempo burner that finds Ford in good spirits; concluding with some traded eighths between Ford and Thigpen, ending in a long-anticipated drum solo which really gets the crowd going. Through inspired solos, and unabashed swinging, complemented by a heightened level of spontaneity one can only experience from playing before a live audience, Ricky Ford and company show us what jazz is all about.


Track Listing: Pie Crust; Cable Waltz; Blues Work; Song For Pres; Blues in Fourths; Balaena; Blues a Hoy; In Walked Bish

Personnel: Ricky Ford (tenor sax); George Cables (piano); Cecil McBee (bass); Ed Thigpen (drums)

Title: Balaena | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Jazz Friends Productions


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 21
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Magnetic" CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Bloodroot" CD/LP/Track Review Bloodroot
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Introducing...Rubén González" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing...Rubén González
by James Nadal
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Wrong Turns And Dead Ends" CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Graveyard Whistling" CD/LP/Track Review Graveyard Whistling
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 5, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!