.9Mile Collaborative presents:
Ricky Ford Quartet
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
341 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY
$25 general admission, $20 students seniors, $18 members
Ricky Ford – tenor saxophone
John Kordalewski – piano
Tony Marino – acoustic bass
Thurman Barker – drums
Hallwalls and the Historic Colored Musicians Club are proud to present legendary American tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford. As a bandleader, sought-after sideman, prolific composer, unique teacher, artistic director of the Toucy Jazz Festival (which he founded in 2008) and an accomplished painter, Ricky Ford has been exploring different aspects of art throughout his astounding career.
Born on March 4th 1954, he was trained at the New England Conservatory of Music as soon as 1968. He studied under Gunther Schuller, Ran Blake, Jaki Byard, George Russell, Joe Allard and Joseph Maneri before Mercer Ellington invited him to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra, just a few months after the passing of Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves. Then he went on to work with Charles Mingus (1976-1977), Dannie Richmond (1978-1981), Lionel Hampton (1980-1982), Abdullah Ibrahim (1983-1990), Mal Waldron (1989-1994), not forgetting the many recording sessions with Yusef Lateef, Sonny Stitt, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Amina Claudine Myers, Sathima Bea Benjamin, and Steve Lacy, to just name a few. As a comprehensive musician, Ford has always strived to master different musical genres, from swing to hard bop to free, and recently focusing on the work of Turkish poet and musician Neyzen Tevfik.
As a leader, Ricky Ford has recorded 21 albums and authored a vast repertoire of originals. The musician has proved to have sharp knowledge and is continually looking for new forms of expression. Ford is also a unique arranger and conductor. From 1985 to 1996 he led Brandeis University’s big band, arranging the works of composers whose music had never been played by big bands. When he settled in Paris in the 1990s, he created another big band before moving to Turkey to teach at the Istanbul Bilgi University (2000-2006). Ricky Ford has been working with Ze Big Band, conducted by Fred Burgazzi, with who he has recorded two beautiful albums, 7095 (2009) and Sacred Concert (2013). Ford and Ze Big Band created Sketches of Brittany at the Jazz Festival of Vitré, in Brittany. In 2022 Ford, now 68, burst out with a strong new album, The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford: Paul’s Scene (Whaling City Sound), his first recording in almost a decade. For those who need to be reminded of Ford’s playing strength and musical imagination, a listen to this music will jog the memory. Ford never ceases to create music of the highest caliber.
John Kordalewski is the leader, arranger and pianist for the Makanda Project, a 13-piece group performing previously unrecorded Makanda Ken McIntyre compositions. He has performed with musicians such as Charlie Rouse, Cab Calloway, Julius Hemphill, Odean Pope, Ricky Ford, Carl Grubbs, Webster Young, Byard Lancaster and Oliver Lake. For many years, he led a trio featuring Boston drummer Bobby Ward. He has conducted clinics and workshops at many colleges and universities, most recently at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, where his arrangements of compositions by pianist Ndikho Xaba and trumpeter Feya Faku have been performed. He is also currently collaborating with saxophonist Chico Freeman, writing first-ever big band arrangements of Freeman’s compositions.
Tony Marino has been playing the bass, that is acoustic and electric, since he was in high school when he switched from guitar so that he might participate in the music curriculum. Soon after, he started his professional music career as the house bass player at clubs and resorts in the Pocono and Catskill Mountains providing back-up to a myriad of well-known entertainers. Since then, he has toured internationally with the Dave Liebman Band. He also has played several times at SUNY Orange with the Chris Parker Quartet and Septet. In addition, he is the bass in the String Trio of New York. Recently, he recorded CDs with The Kaleidoscope Quintet with world-renowned saxophonist Joe Lovano, and with Expansions, Dave Liebman’s Quintet, which performed at Dizzys in NYC. Marino’s versatility and wide range of musicality has afforded him opportunities to accompany and record with numerous artists from jazz to folk to pop. The bass is a part of his being. When he is playing, Marino and his bass are one and the instrument is his voice.
Growing up in Chicago in the 1950s, Thurman Barker was exposed to the city’s rich musical heritage, regularly hearing R&B, doo-wop, soul, jazz, and blues. Accordingly, he began his professional career at age 17 by anchoring the rhythm section for blues legend Mighty Joe Young. He then attended the American Conservatory of Music and later Roosevelt University. A versatile drummer and percussionist, he also performed with singers Billy Eckstine, Marvin Gaye, Bette Midler, and Vicki Carr, and worked with classical groups like the Chicago Chamber Players and the New York City Opera. Perhaps Barker’s most notable musical experience has been with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization founded in the 1960s to promote innovative music and its players. A charter member of the group, Barker first appeared in AACM productions with Joseph Jarman’s pioneering ensemble. He then went on to play with many other members, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Meyers, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, and Henry Threadgill. In the 1970s and ’80s, after moving to New York, Barker worked with jazz giants Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers and Billy Bang, touring with their groups and recording numerous albums with them. Most recently, he has performed with trombonist and composer George Lewis at the Festival International Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Quebec. Barker has taught jazz history and performance at Bard College since 1993 and was appointed professor of jazz studies in June 2016