Robben Ford Live at City Winery

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Robben Ford... When my concert buddy asked me if I wanted to go see this show, I recognized the name, knew he was a guitarist and was otherwise without any recollection of where I had heard of him or any of his work.


A little research helps the decision making.  A blues and jazz guitarist, at times playing with Miles Davis, George Harrison, Dave Gruisin and others, the guy has not only persevered but gathered ample acclaim in his career, which has included approximately 40 solo albums plus others in various groups.


Still, other than a brief look at a YouTube video, I wasn't prepared for this show other than trusting my concert buddy's judgement.  No regrets.

Despite the expectation of a lot of blues guitar, the evening was decidedly jazzy in its selection of tunes.  The nice thing about a foursome with drums, bass, guitar and sax is that it can go both ways easily.  What you can hear and see in his music is, well, I'd want to say effortless, but we know that's not true.  But it does have a practiced efficiency - the notes, the pitch, the rightness of the chord and note changes... it's all very crisp and shines through regardless of the style he plays.  His style isn't so unique identifiable like Carlos Santana, for example, but you can hear that it comes from an internal place that is tried and true.


Whichever genre was played, Ford's band rose tot he occasion, with frequent solos by the saxophonist and bassist, particularly.  This was their first show of 2020 after a few months off.  You could tell they were still feeling some things out, and a look over his past shows that he never offers a "greatest hits" package when touring.  It's a mix, and he has a deep well from which to choose.

No full set list has been published, but some included "Star Time," "Lovin' Cup," "Cannonball Shuffle," "Baby Please Set a Date," the humorous "High Heels and Throwing Things" (referring to a person, not necessarily their actions in context), the excellent "Fool's Paradise," and "Black Night" which offered an extended solo, some of which is in the clip below.  The playing far exceeds the professionalism of the video...









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