Robben Ford: From Miles Davis to KISS

It’s interesting to see the wide divergence of acts with whom talented musicians played during their studio days, if they had any. Little Feat’s Lowell George, for instance, had two Franks on his resume — Sinatra and Zappa. That said, it’s still funny to learn that Robben Ford played with Miles Davis and KISS. (I am not sure which came first, but wonder if he ever accidentally started playing bits of “Love Gun” or “Rock ‘N Roll All Nite” when he was improvising alongside Davis. From what we know about Davis, it seems pretty clear that he wouldn’t have been amused.)

Ford was born in Riverside and raised in Ukiah, CA. His first guitar hero was Michael Bloomfield and his first band was The Charles Ford Blues Band, which was formed with his brothers Mark and Patrick and named after their father. It still performs at The Ford Blues Band.

Ford got his first high profile gig when he and Mark joined harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite at age 18. His move to jazz and the broadened horizon for which he is known is tied to his membership in the L.A. Express, the Tom Scott band that backed George Harrison on his 1974 tour and played on two important Joni Mitchell albums, “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” and “Miles of Aisles.” Musician magazine named Ford one of the 100 greatest guitarists of the 20th century.

In a story written for The Patriot Ledger that posted this week, Ford – who was to perform last night in Falls River, MA — said that he continues to grow as a song writer at age 63 and that he considers his latest album, “Into the Stars,” to be among his best. If the album does nothing else, it shows that Ford has the respect of the heavyweights: It features Warren Haynes, Sonny Landreth, Robert Randolph, Keb’ Mo’ and others.

An interesting side note is that Ford’s nephew is Little Feat drummer Gabe Ford.

Above is “Freedom” and below is “Cannonball Shuffle.”

Robben Ford’s site, Wikipedia and The Wicked Local were used to write this post.

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