TWO GIANTS of contemporary music team up for a bluegrass-fusion showcase at this years San Javier International Jazz Festival. Guitarist/singer Robben Ford and saxophonist Bill Evans present "Soulgrass meets Blues" a new project that mixes blues, country and jazz. Both artists are old friends of Jazz San Javier, Ford appeared with fellow guitarist Larry Carlton at the 2007 X edition and Evans with the CTI All-Stars at last years XII edition. They will be joined by banjo virtuoso Ryan Cavanaugh, Cameroon bass player Etienne N'bappè, who for many years formed part of the (Joe) Zawinul Syndicate, plus the drummer Toss Panos, back once again after his spectacular performance as part of Carlton's band.
Robben Ford is one of the premier electric guitarists today, particularly known for his blues playing as well as his ability to be comfortable in a variety of musical contexts. A four-time Grammy nominee, he has played with artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Witherspoon, Miles Davis, George Harrison, Phil Lesh, Bonnie Raitt, Claus Ogerman, Michael McDonald, and many others.
Born in 1951 in Ukiah, California, Robben was the third of four sons in a musical family. His first chosen instrument was the saxophone, which he began to play at age ten and continued to play until his early twenties. He began to teach himself guitar at age thirteen upon hearing the two guitarists from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. In the late 1960’s, Ford frequented the Fillmore and Winterland Auditoriums in San Francisco to see Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Albert King, B.B. King and all of the progenitors of blues. “It was an incredible time for electric guitar” Ford recalls.
Ford’s latest CD release is entitled Truth. “I feel this is the best work I have done in terms of a solo recording. It is my most realized work as a songwriter, and I feel like I am reaching higher ground as a guitarist. Truth represents the blues as they are today; some of the songs are sociopolitical in essence, but not without humour, and the musical setting is fresh.” The CD is notable for a well received cover of Paul Simon's “One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor.”
Bill Evans primarily plays tenor and soprano saxophones. Evans attended North Texas State University and William Paterson University, where he studied with Dave Liebman, a Miles Davis alumnus. Moving to NYC in 1979 he spent countless hours in lofts playing jazz standards and perfecting his improvisational style. At the age of 22 he joined Miles Davis. In the early to mid-1980s, Evans played with Miles and was instrumental in his musical comeback. Notable albums recorded with Miles include The Man With The Horn, We Want Miles, and Decoy. In addition to playing with Miles Davis he has played, toured and recorded with artists such as Herbie Hancock, John Mclaughlin, Michael Franks, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Les McCann, Mark Egan, Danny Gottlieb, Ian Anderson and Randy Brecker. He is featured on the Petite Blonde album with Victor Bailey, Dennis Chambers, Mitch Forman, and Chuck Loeb. During the 1980s and 90s he was a member of the jazz fusion group Elements. Two of his most recent albums Soul Insider and Soulgrass were nominated for Grammy awards. Soulgrass was a ground breaking concept involving such musicians as Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Bruce Hornsby, and Vinnie Colaiuta.
Robben Ford and Bill Evans "Soulgrass meets Blues" supported by Los Bluesfalos are performing at the San Javier International Jazz Festival on Sunday 18th July, doors open 21:00. Tickets are €12 available from the San Javier Festival Office, Disco's Carrots in Cartagena and ServiCaixa www.servicaixa.com. More info at www.jazz.sanjavier.es