Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Jul 05th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

With a Little Help From His Friends

music_RobbenFordSRobben Ford assembles blues-rock super group for big licks

For those who know him, Robben Ford needs no introduction. The four-time Grammy nominee has been recording since 1972 and his formidable discography reflects the blues guitarist’s work ethic.

Raised in a music-loving family—his father and mother both sang and played various instruments—Ford says he has been in love with music ever since he can remember. He began playing piano at 7, picked up the saxophone at 10 and began teaching himself guitar at 13. He has worked with the likes of Joni Mitchell, George Harrison and Miles Davis.

In Ford’s latest endeavor he teams with three more musical greats—Michael Landau, Jimmy Haslip and Gary Novak—to release the album Trial By Fire. He has worked with Landau, Haslip and Novak in various forms over his eventful career, but heretofore the four have not been able to make the time in their busy schedules to get together in the same room and kick out the jams.

“This group of people gives me the opportunity to present songs I’ve written but generally wouldn’t have the right situation to record,” Ford says. With his band, Ford explains he likes to stick to a certain style, but that he often composes songs that veer from the norm that wouldn’t have made sense to play in his group.

The new group—which simply goes by its comprising members’ individual names—works more collaboratively than Ford is used to, and he loves the band for just that reason.

“Mike is a really great guitar player,” Ford says of Landau. “He also comes from a very different style. He plays one way and I play another.” He adds that playing with Landau is exciting, because Landau comes up with riffs Ford wouldn’t have thought to play. “Therefore there’s all the more pleasure and hearing it. It’s fresh to me and it’s exciting for that reason.”


Landau was also raised in a musical household. His grandfather played alto sax in swing-era group the Dorsey Brothers, his mother played the piano and he says there was always music surrounding him as a child. His uncle showed him his first guitar chords. “I loved it right away,” Landau remembers. His mother tells him that he used to sleep in his crib clutching 45 RPM records and that he would put his head directly in front of speakers when music was playing in his house.

“Music has always been an emotional thing for me,” Landau says. “I remember hearing The Beatles on the car radio when I was around 9 or 10 years old and knowing right then that that was what I wanted to do.”

Landau says playing and recording with this new group has been “both a rush and calming at the same time. There’s a trust there that really frees you up so you can go deep down into the music.” As for playing with Ford specifically: “I feel like I’m at my best when I play with him.”

The new collaboration incorporates elements of blues, rock, R&B and a little bit of jazz. With Ford and Landau trading licks, each track is charged with powerful blues/rock heroics. Each member contributed original songs to the album and modern slide-guitar guru Ben Harper makes a few appearances.

“We're all really gearing up to play,” Landau says. “Hopefully there'll be some crazy, juicy, beautiful sounds coming off the stage!”

“It’s very familial,” Ford adds of playing with the group. “It’s very easy for us to get together and play. What each person brings to the mix is very inspired, because everybody really loves to play. It just fits like a glove.”


Robben Ford, Michael Landau, Jimmy Haslip and Gary Novak perform at 7 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, at Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $23 in advance, $26 at the door. For more information, call 427-2227.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food