Album Review

Ford, Ricky – “The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford: Pauls Scene” – [Whaling City Sound]

Brian Damage   11/14/2022   CD, Jazz

Ricky Ford may not have the public profile of some of our other tenor giants, but that makes his playing no less compelling. Now 68, he has played in some legendary bands: the Duke Ellington Orchestra at the age of 20, Charles Mingus, Dannie Richmond, the Mingus Dynasty, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Mal Waldron. He has recorded with Yusef Lateef, Sonny Stitt, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, and more.

All this varied background comes pouring out on Paul’s Scene: a virtuosic performance from start to finish, in many modern jazz styles. Lighting the fuse with a gorgeous bossa nova, Mr. Ford moves from strength to strength, ripping through a dozen tracks in perfect form. There’s not a clunker in the bunch. Inventive, lyrical, melodic playing, a smokin’ band (Mark Soskin – piano, Jerome Harris – bass, Barry Altschul – drums), fantastic songwriting and arrangements, and an impeccable recording make this a winner.

Let’s cut to the chase: Paul’s Scene is the best modern jazz record of the year. It gets my highest recommendation.

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