Robben Ford is a guitar virtuoso with an unparalleled vocabulary in Blues, Rock, and Jazz that is renowned the world over as one of the greatest guitarists alive today. A self-taught guitarist, Ford is a five-time Grammy nominee who has played with artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Greg Allman, Larry Carlton, and many others. Pure is Robben’s first all-instrumental release in over two decades.
Ford enlisted the talents of Casey Wasner as co-producer and engineer on this release, who also produced Purple House and Made to Last for Ford. Recorded at Wasner’s Purple House studios, Ford took a new approach to making this release and built the foundation for the songs with Wasner before ever bringing in any other musicians.
“My engineer and co-producer, Casey Wasner, proved invaluable in making that happen and most of the music you’ll hear in this recording was accomplished by the two of us working together in his studio, Purple House, getting the right shape and feel to the music, then adding bass and drums after the fact. Having worked in this way, I feel that Pure is perhaps the most complete representation of my personal musical vision,” said Ford.
For fans of Ford, his technique and style is instantly recognizable on this release and doesn’t disappoint. Pure starts off with the track “Pure (prelude)” which is a short introduction for the listener and immediately peaks your interest in what’s next. The second track “White Rock Beer…8 cents” is a mid-tempo shuffle that showcases Ford’s stylistic guitar playing and is nicely accented by horn arrangements throughout the song. The track “Milam Palmo” slows the pace a little and features the jazz stylings of Ford, while still engaging the listener. The track “Go” is a funky groove that makes you want to tap your foot and bob your head – this is one of the most memorable on the release. The track “Blues for Lonnie Johnson” is the track blues purists will love. It’s a slow blues track that captures Ford at his best. When listening to this track I’m envisioning a late night smokey blues club while watching musicians do what they do best. “The Dragon’s Tail” and “Pure” are both a masterclass in musical diversity and blending those influences together to make a song that enjoyable to the ear.
Traditionally instrumental releases only appeal to a small niche of the music listener, but I encourage you to give this a chance if you normally wouldn’t. The listener gets engrossed in the feel of the music, and eventually forgets that it’s an instrumental release. You just hear musicians having a great time expressing themselves through their art. All in all, Pure is another musical snapshot into the vast catalog that is Robben Ford. It’s a great release from beginning to end that will thrill Ford’s loyal following, while hopefully garnering him new fans as well.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– White Rock Beer… 8 Cents
– A Dragon’s Tail
– Blues for Lonnie Johnson
The Big Hit
– Blues for Lonnie Johnson