473

Robben Ford: Soul on Ten

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Robben Ford: Soul on Ten While he's largely lived in the blues world for much of his career, guitarist Robben Ford has always been defined by a jazz sensibility. Sure, there's the grease and grit of overdriven, wah-wah'd electric guitar and a strong, rock-hard backbeat; but Ford's language since Robben Ford and the Blue Line (Stretch, 1992) has been a compelling combination of visceral blues bends and more evolved harmony. It's no surprise that he's been the go-to guitarist for everyone from Miles Davis and Charlie Haden to Keb' Mo' and John Mayall. Soul on Ten isn't Ford's first live album but it's a hot one, covering some of his best material from the past decade, hitting hard on a couple of blues standards from Willie Dixon, Elmore James, and Jimmy Reed, and introducing a couple of new originals into the repertoire.



When Ford emerged from the greater jazz proclivities of his early years with Blue Line, he also made a leap that too many great instrumentalists take unsuccessfully; and, truthfully, in his early days Ford was only an adequate singer. But years of gigging have turned him into a far looser, emotive singer, making songs like the change-heavy "Nothin' to Nobody"—a collaboration with singer Michael McDonald from Supernatural (Blue Thumb, 1999)—and an upbeat but still down-and-dirty look at Dixon's enduring "Spoonful," completely credible. Eight of Soul on Ten's ten tracks are live from two nights at San Francisco's The Independent, but the closing two tracks—the ambling, jazz-centric "Don't Worry," featuring a saxophone solo by Karl Denson and bluesier "Thoughtless," with guest spots by B-3 organist Larry Goldings and bassist Jon Button—are live-in-the-studio recordings.



Outside of those guest spots, Ford's working quartet—featuring powerhouse drummer Toss Panos—brings great energy to the high octane blues instrumental, "Indianola," from Blue Moon (Concord, 2002), where chordal passages in Ford's solo demonstrate his beyond-the-blues sophistication. The quartet knows how much to say and when to stop, with most of Soul on Ten's tracks in the four-to-eight minute range. Only "Nothin' To Nobody"—which features a show-stopping solo from bassist Travis Carlton and an equally high-powered spot for organist Neal Evans—extends beyond 11 minutes, while Ford's "There'll Never Be Another You," from Truth (Concord, 2007), expands beyond eight; with an open-ended solo section that goes places likely as surprising to the band as they must have been to the appreciative audience.

Throughout, Ford finds the middle ground between jazz language and the universal language of the blues. Whether it's the four-to-the-floor medley of James' "Please Set a Date" and Reed's "You Don't Have to Go" or Ford's more soulful "Earthquake," Ford solos with unerring taste and unfettered abandon. Over the course of the past two decades Ford has carved out a space all his own, with Soul on Ten providing the perfect love letter for the uninitiated, the ideal hot date for existing fans.


Track Listing: Supernatural; Indianola; There'll Never Be Another You; Spoonful; Nothin' to Nobody; Please Set a Date/You Don't Have to Go; Earthquake; How Deep in the Blues (Do You Want to Go); Don't Worry 'Bout Me; Thoughtless.

Personnel: Robben Ford: guitar, vocals; Neal Evans: B-3 organ (1-9); Travis Carlton: bass (1-9); Toss Panos: drums; Larry Goldings: B-3 organ (10); Jon Button: bass (10); Karl Denson: saxophone (9).

Title: Soul on Ten | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Live at the Blue Whale" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Blue Whale
by Phillip Woolever
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Colour And Movement" CD/LP/Track Review Colour And Movement
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Spectre" CD/LP/Track Review Spectre
by Mark F. Turner
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Living In Twilight" CD/LP/Track Review Living In Twilight
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 31, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.