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Release Date:
August 23, 2011

Reviewed by:
Harvey Cline

When you think of violin, you really don’t think of smooth jazz. Your thoughts go to classical or blue grass. Violinist Ken Ford will surprise you with his jazz licks, enthusiasm and intensity as his latest release State of Mind hits the streets. The opener “Guttaville” starts off simple enough before giving way to a wall of sound led by Ford on violin. The mix here is rich as the undertones provide the perfect background for his strings as it comes to a climactic ending. “Freefall” has a completely different feel to it as it moves along nicely as Ford moves over the strings. Algebra Blessett adds vocals that softens the outcome and allows Ken to go all out on the violin. “Turn It Up” is a mid tempo tune that features Ford after the introduction. He flows along nicely and shows the smoother side of his playing as compared to the opener. As you listen, you continue to wonder what direction he’ll take next as your mind continues to flow with the music.

“Kiran” continues the flow and allows Ford to really stretch out on the material. It continues to build as it goes along. “State of Mind” has to be my favorite on the album and is the first single. It builds in it’s opening salvo only to be comprised by Ford’s violin for a few measures then returns once more. I think this one really shows off his ability to play the instrument as well as show case his raw intensity. He is over the board with his playing, and is always in control. The driving back beat keeps them moving right along to a climactic ending. Seen live, this one usually brings down the house. “(Prelude in C Minor) Strung Out” is completely opposite and begins as a classical piece led by Ford on violin. It doesn’t last long as the beat picks up and a jazzier piece appears. Complete with “harpsichord”, this one comes full circle and is really an interesting one to hear. He finishes with the intense “Moments In Love” which is another one that is great to hear live. The full sound that was evident on the opener is here again as is the intensity heard on “State of Mind.” This one continues to build and build as his band takes it to new levels led by the man with the bow. I think you’ll go back and crank this one as you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much energy can come from a violin.

Be sure to check the latest from violinist Ken Ford, or see him live at a show near you soon. I know you’ll be in a different State of Mindwhen you leave. The seven tracks here are sure to please, and offer those of you who are looking for a new sound with something quite different and quite good.