Robben Ford

Soul on Ten

Robben Ford will be playing the Sierra Nevada Big Room on Dec. 13 with the Ford Blues Band, but if you can’t make that show, the next best thing would be to get hold of this, his most recent live album, recorded over two nights at The Intersection in San Francisco. Ford has been the recipient of five Grammy nominations, and he’s put out 20 albums, none of them better than this one for providing a sense of what the man does so well. He is a virtuoso guitarist, playing a distinct fusion of jazz and blues with the kind of facility and improvisatory skills that place him among the very best players working. If you’d like to hear why that’s so, check out “Indianola,” his homage to B.B. King, or the extended riffs on old blues standards like “Please Set a Date” or “Spoonful.” You’ll be surprised at how much fire Ford can bring to these oft-played classics. Ford once toured with Miles Davis, a guy notoriously cranky about the standards he set for the musicians with whom he associated. Ford sailed right over that high bar, and the reasons are all showcased in Soul on Ten.