Ricky Ford Biography

Richard Allen Ford, 4 March 1954, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Ford started to play drums, then changed to tenor saxophone at the age of 15, inspired by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Ran Blake heard him playing in a Boston Club and persuaded him to study music at the New England Conservatory. (Blake later invited him to play on several albums too, including Rapport, Short Life Of Barbara Monk and That Certain Feeling). In 1974 Ford joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the leadership of Mercer Ellington and in 1976 he replaced George Adams in the Charles Mingus group, recording on Three Or Four Shades of Blue and Me Myself An Eye. In the late 70s and early 80s he played with Dannie Richmond, Mingus Dynasty, George Russell, Beaver Harris, Lionel Hampton and Adbullah Ibrahim’s Ekaya group. However, following the release of his debut album in 1977 he has worked increasingly as a leader, often recording with Jimmy Cobb and ex-Ellington colleague James Spaulding. His latest releases also feature one of his New England Conservatory teachers, Jaki Byard. A strong, authoritative tenor player, Ford’s fluency in most idioms of modern jazz has perhaps hindered the development of an individual voice.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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