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Ford Robben

Ford Robben

Ford, Robben, jazz-rock guitarist; b. Woodlake, Calif., Dec. 16, 1951. His father, Charles, was an amateur county musician on guitar and harmonica; Robben began playing sax at age 11, and then two years later took up guitar. In 1970, he moved to San Francisco, forming The Charles Ford Blues Band with his brother Pat; another brother, Mark, joined the band in time for their first album. From 1972–73, Robben toured with Jimmy Wither spoon and then in 1974 worked with Tom Scott’s L.A. Express, accompanying singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell; he also backed up George Harrison on his “Dark Horse” tour that year. He was a founding member of The Yellowjackets in 1978 along with Russel Ferrante (keyboards and primary composer) and Jimmy Haslip (bass). Primarily a blues and fusion player, he achieved some recognition in jazz circles during his tenure with Miles Davis (1985–86) with whom he appeared in a televised benefit for Amnesty International. After working with Davis, Ford has primarily recorded and toured with his own group, playing blues-based jazz; in the 1990s, he turned to more commercial pop-vocal music.


Schizophonic (1976); Inside Story (1979); Yellowjackets (1981); Samurai Samba (1984); Mirage a Trois (1985); Politics (1988); Words and Music (1988); Talk to Your Daughter (1988); Robben Ford (1988); Robben Ford & The Blue Line (1992); Blues and Beyond (1992); Mystic Mile (1993); Dreamland (1995); Handful of Blues (1995).

—Lewis Porter

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