I have a standing policy that EPs I review must have at least 5 cuts for me to consider them (we critics are Tin Hitlers and quite imperious in our swinish idiosyncracies—unless we write for Rolling Stone; then we're just whores), so thank goodness Jamila Ford decided to cut a fiver because her version of one of my all-time favorite songs, Wild is the Wind (made famous by Anthony Newley and blown to the stars by David Bowie) is a take that digs into the composition and unearths its novo-madrigal roots, making the track very very VERY personal, more so than any version I've ever heard. A duet with guitarist Mitchell Long, I listened to the cut three times before going back to the first selection…and man, was I ever in for a surprise, 'cause this girl has an extremely sophisticated way with things and is lively as hell, recalling the upstart spirit of Nina Simone, one of modern music's saintesses, while savoring the best of sophisticated modern mellow city-jazzisms.
Mile's All Blues becomes a perky, spunky, fragmented but highly melodic take, Long again a prime figure in its evocations, pianist Pete Kuzma right behind him. Then Bonfa's marvelous Gentle Rain arises, and the atmospherics become almost incidentalist, cinematic. Tremelo vocals, it appears, have fallen somewhat out of style lately, but not so with Ford, and here she modulates herself in a fashion lost decades ago. Kuzma decides the key essences and drummer Chuck Staab abets them, mixing his chops up to usher the percussive aspects back into musical accompaniment rather than just metronomic standby. Right now, Manhttan Beach, whence I pen this critique, is undergoing a moody, balmy, El Nino rain phase, and Ford's cut is practically a painted reflection of it. If you'll excuse me for a moment, I'd like to take another pull or two on my bourbon 'n Coke, 'cause this is intelligent hedonism and then some.
I'll leave the remaining cuts for the reader to discover on his/her own, the aforegoing a teaser. As far as I can discern, this is a debut disc, and, since Ford is presently in a unique position in the changing music business flow, you can even grab her for a private in-home concert. I suggest you and 20+ friends do so because once she's discovered—and I doubt that will take very long at all—she'll be at The Apollo, The Blue Note, and God only knows where else, and you'll have missed a completely unique opportunity. In fact, as soon as I can work out how to ransack the Bank of America down in Hawthorne, I'll be having her over…if the authorities will wait long enough before carting me off to Alkatrazz. It's worth the risk. Seriously.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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