Desert Island Jazz
Robben Ford (2010)

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Robben Ford is one of the best electric guitarists working today. He's a five-time Grammy nominee, and has played with a huge variety of musicians, including Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Witherspoon, Miles Davis, Phil Lesh, Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, and Bob Dylan.

Robben is a native Californian, born in Woodlake in 1951 and raised in Ukiah. His father was a C&W singer and guitarist, so Robben was immersed in music from an early age. His first instrument was the alto saxophone; he later taught himself guitar at age 13.

Robben loves jazz. Initially captivated by the alto saxophone sound of Paul Desmond, his ears were opened to other kinds of saxophone playing directly because of the limited availability of jazz recordings in Ukiah. As Robben says wryly, his first two LPs were by Ornette Coleman and Archie Shepp.

In the late '60s Robben heard a lot of music at the Fillmore and the Winterland auditoriums here in the Bay Area, seeing acts such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Albert King, and B.B. King.

After high school, Robben and his brothers Patrick and Mark formed a band named after their father, The Charles Ford Blues Band.

He went on to tour and record with Joni Mitchell, and has toured with George Harrison, Michael McDonald, David Sanborn, and Larry Carlton.

Robben and his wife, actress and singer Anne Kerry, have worked together several times, most recently her Kurt Weill project. His latest album, Renegade Creation, is his first real rock band.

Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Miles Davis Miles Smiles Freedom Jazz Dance Columbia
# 2 Nick Drake Five Leaves Left Riverman Island
# 3 Laura Nyro New York Tenaberry Mercy on Broadway Columbia
# 4 The Who The Who Sell Out I Can See for Miles MCA
# 5 Sonny Rollins East Broadway Rundown Blessing in Disguise Impulse
# 6 B.B. King Blues Is King Night Life MCA
# 7 Yusef Lateef The Golden Flute Rosetta Impulse
# 8 Joni Mitchell Turbulent Indigo The Sire of Sorrow (Job's Sad Song) Reprise
# 9 Laura Nyro New York Tenaberry Save the Country Columbia
         
Book George Crane, "Bones of the Master: A Journey to Secret Mongolia"
         
Luxury Item "A really expensive Les Paul guitar"
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