Ricky Ford, tenor sax legend, needs no introduction, but he’ll get one anyway because it’s important to hear his lineage before diving into his new recording. After getting his start filling the Paul Gonsalves chair in the Duke Ellington Orchestra (under Mercer Ellington’s leadership), Ford’s gone on to play with Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, and Abdullah Ibrahim, to name but a few of his more illustrious stints. He is, quite simply, a national treasure. His latest recording, a tip of the hat to his early roots and a focused, fabulous blast of multi-hued bebop and traditional jazz, reflects tremendous taste and virtuosity, with nods to his heroes (Hawkins, Duke, Mingus, and others) and affirmation that the guy can still play with the best of them. While he may not have the same public profile as our present-day tenor heroes, he deserves every ounce of respect that they get and more. The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford: Paul’s Scene, made with his accompanists pianist Mark Soskin, bassist Jerome Harris, and drummer Barry Altschul, is wondrous and his playing sounds as fresh today as it did decades back, when he was a true legend in the making.
Check out album here.