Violinist Ken Ford is flying high now that his brand new CD, State of Mind, is generating a great buzz among music fans.
The Atlanta-based jazz-inspired musician isn’t a newcomer by any stretch of the imagination. Working with everyone from Bruno Mars to Ledisi, Ford’s love of creating and producing is inspired from a variety of genres and artists. Not only will the violinist find ways to interpolate tunes from Drake or Jay-Z in his live routine, he just as easily references the works of virtuoso violinists as well.
“Musically, I love Jean-Luc Ponty, he is one of my favorite violinists,” Ford explains to BET.com. “His vocabulary is very broad and his tone and solos are so clean. From a writer’s point of view, I love Stevie Wonder. His repertoire is huge and every song is different from the next.”
A wide-ranging musical palate is just one of the qualities that makes the Twelve Music Group signee a treat to see live. His performances can range from kick your shoes off crowd-pleasing jam session to laid-back wine and dine smooth jazz that recalls sounds of contemporary jazz star Kenny G. But don’t call him the “Black Kenny G.”
“I’m not sure how I feel about that,” Ford says. “I have no problem with Kenny G. He is super talented and he definitely made a crossover appeal to all genres, but to be honest, I'm not a smooth, laid-back jazz player...so I can't really see myself being in comparison like that...we just happen to have the same first name.”
Ford is also distinguishing himself in a new music video, the album title track “State of Mind,” which does its part to promote jazz and the importance of playing live instruments — a lost art for some.
“I think at one point jazz music was dying away, and the youth was not getting the exposure that they should,” Ford explains. “But thanks to organizations like the Ken Ford Foundation [all about keeping music education in the schools], jazz and live music is making a serious comeback and I am just blessed to be a part of that movement.”
State of Mind is currently on sale at iTunes.
(Photo: Moses Robinson/Getty Images)