Robben Ford

Born in 1951 in Ukiah, California, Robben is the third of four siblings in a musical family. His father Charles was a country & western singer and guitarist before joining the armed forces and marrying Kathryn, a pianist and singer with a lovely voice.

Robben’s first instrument was the saxophone, which he began playing at the age of ten and continued until his early twenties, at the same time beginning to learn guitar self-taught at the age of thirteen after listening to two guitarists from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop.

In the late 1960s Ford attended the Fillmore and Winterland Auditorium in San Francisco to see Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Albert King, B.B. King, and all the other fathers of the blues. “It was an incredible time for the electric guitar,” Ford recalls.

Regarding his interest in jazz, Ford says ” I fell in love with the saxophone playing of Paul Desmond and the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and soon after discovered Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Yusaf Lateef, Roland Kirk, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, and of course Miles Davis.” These influences have been instrumental in creating Ford’s particular blend of jazz and blues that defines him as a guitarist and allows him to play in a wide variety of situations.

After high school, Robben and his brothers Patrick (blues drummer) and Mark (blues harmonica player) formed the Charles Ford Blues Band (named after their father) and recorded for Arhoolie. Robben (on sax and guitar) and Patrick went on tour in the States with Chicago harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, again recording for Arhoolie.

Ex-Beatles George Harrison invited Robben to be part of his tour in support of the “Dark Horse” album in the States and Canada, further raising Ford’s musical profile. Shortly after the two-month tour with Harrison ended, Ford moved to Colorado to take a well-deserved rest from music and to study with Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa.

In 1977 he was approached by Elektra to record for them, producing his first solo album, “The Inside Story,” with a group of musicians who would later become the Yellowjackets.

After moving to New York with Anne, he was called to play with music icon Miles Davis. “Producer Tommy Lipuma had Miles listen to my work with the Yellowjackets, and three days later Miles called me personally to ask me to be in his band.

Robben Ford the masterclass

h 17:00 – 20:00
Casa del Jazz

Villa Osio, Viale di Porta Ardeatina, 55