Yusef Lateef - Ricky Ford


Few have been afforded the real life educational opportunities that Ricky Ford had during his teens. From ages thirteen through eighteen the tenor saxophonist traveled to clubs in downtown Boston, to sit in with some of the greatest musicians in the world, including Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Rahsaan Roland Kirkand, Archie Shepp. So prodigious were his talents that several, including Mingus, asked young Ford to return again and again. Ford became so accomplished and comfortable with his abilities that he started hanging out on his own, in venues like Wallys', Paul's Mall and the Jazz Workshop. Soon he earned a reputation as a passionate young firebrand. Intensity is Ford's trademark. He displayed it while at the New England Conservatory, and in subsequent stints with Mercer, Ellington, Charles Mingus and Abdullah Ibrahim. He's a stylist who can be as creamy and huge in tone as Dexter Gordon, and as dissonant and craggy in approach as Archie Shepp. The depth, complexity and range of his musical writing make Ford much more than a mere tenor blaster. His nine years as artist-in-residence at Brandeis University, plus his associations with strong conceptualists like Mingus and Ibrahim, have led him to explore bebop, swing, South African music and the Blues, with an eye toward taking those traditions in new directions. His material is charged with improvising opportunities that rarely fail to inspire his bandmates to greater heights. In 1993 Ford received the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres medal from France for his composition " Land Preserve", dedicated to ecological awareness. He also stars in the French TV documentary Ricky Ford Encore, with Jaki Byard, Milt Hinton and Ben Riley. Ford is well recorded, with over 15 releases. His latest, "American-African Blues", is selling well in the United States, Europe and Japan.

AVERY SHARPE Electric Bass ~ Avery Sharpe is one of the most refreshing and innovative bassists on the scene today. Leonard Feather wrote that he is "a giant among giants, a technical wizard whose solos, whether in rapid single string lines or guitar-like chords, never fail to astonish. " Avery attributes his energetic bass playing to his diverse musical background. Born in Georgia, August 23, 1954, he began playing piano at age 8, and a few years later took up accordion. At age 16 Avery began playing electric bass. This self-taught electric bassist's first performances and experiences began in the "Church of God in Christ", where he played gospel music. During his high school and early college years he performed with and many times was the leader of groups in the idioms of rhythm and blues…, big band, symphonic orchestra, church choirs and other various singing groups. The bassist, composer, producer and educator has a full range of credits. His works include fil m scores. One of the feature films is "An Unremarkable Life", with Shelly Winters and Patricia Neal. Avery's debut recording " Unspoken Words " received rave reviews. He has been a long time associate of piano legend McCoy Tyner, which includes over 15 recordings. He has performed and recorded with many other notable musicians which includes, Art Blakely, Dizzy Gillespie, George Benson, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Freddie Hubbard, and Archie Shepp . Avery's major objective in life as he states it is "to perpetuate a truly positive mode of human life and create a fulfilling environment for all through music. " He has recently produced his own CD: " EXTENDED FAMILY' on Jade Records.

KAMAL SABIR Drums • Kamal Sabir was bom in the South Bronx of New York City, and in his early musical Studies sat under the teaching of master drummers Charles Persip, Michael Carvin, Stick Evans as well as the reputable Jazzmobile workshops. His non formal music education also included the influences of his Puerto Rican heritage, the pop culture of his inner city upbringing and multicultural musical influences from his world travels. Kamal has performed professionally for twenty years. He effectively combines the traditions of African American music, pop, gospel and other contemporary styles with the exploratory drive of the avant-garde into a uniquely dynamic and personal style. As a five year member of Ornette Coleman's group Prime Time, Sabir is proficient in Coleman's harmonic concept, which has had a major impact on contemporary Autophysiopsychic music.