New standards is a term that is often thrown around in jazz. As in all genres, there are articulate writers, with songs that stand the test of time, and others who simply fade into the background. Enter a new artist on the jazz scene, Darrian Ford.
New Standards is Ford's debut full-length album in the jazz-pop genre, and he steps into the spotlight with a full arsenal of well-penned originals and a voice that suggests he has studied Sam Cooke for years. Indeed, Ford has been touring his The Cooke Book show since 2006 to audiences across the US. Ford's voice also reveals of a latent Al Jarreau. Ford has a strong instrument in his voice. It has soul and is technically assured.
A shining example can be heard on "Faith," a gospel-inspired tune, that is solidified by organist Ben Joseph and trumpeter Constantine Alexander, who offer inspired, grooving solos that colorize the track's authenticity and soulfulness. Ford is particularly inspired on this track, and his voice shimmers with a gospel overtone laced with pop sensibilities.
"Bag of Rocks" gets a reading like a blues classic, with the hard-luck life theme and the character overcoming the hurdles of life with words of wisdom from parental figures. A catchy shuffle, complete with dramatic stops, allows Ford to wag and wail the lyric with conviction and sass. The tune is a well-oiled original, penned by Ford and Kael Bradley, who is also credited for string arrangements on various tunes.
Ford's previous EP releases were the warm-up to this full-length album, and it's evident he is not a pinch hitter, but a lyricist tackling the realities of everyday life. His vocal prowess is the icing on the proverbial cake, a manfestation of a deep message.
Track Listing: Loose Cotton Shirt; Bag of Rocks; Whose Child; Untitled; Fatherless Son; Faith; On the Ocean; To Be Your Man; Truth; Enough; Lovely Day; The One; Not My Brother’s Keeper; TBYM.
Personnel: Darrian Ford: vocals; Ben Joseph: piano; Kael Bradley: piano; Larry Brown Jr.: guitar; John Cicora: guitar; Tim Ipsen: bass; Runere Brown: bass; Kenneth Leftridge: saxphone; Constantine Alexander: trumpet; James Perkins Jr.: flute; Ben Joseph: organ, harmonica; Zach Himelhoch: percussion; Alex Chambers-Ozasky: cello; Joshua Dema: cello; Ece Dolu: violin; Yu Xin: violin.
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