Ken Ford (violinist)
November 14, 1968|
St. Louis, Missouri United States
|Genres||Jazz, Classical music, R&B, Hip hop|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, Record producer, Composer|
|Labels||Twelve Music Group|
Ken Ford (born November 14, 1968) is an American jazz violinist. Growing up, Ford began as a classical violinist, with prominent orchestra positions in his youth, and is a sought-after musician whose electric violin has also graced the tracks of hit artists ranging from R&B, neo soul, contemporary jazz and more.
Born in St. Louis, Ken Ford lived in Detroit, Michigan before his parents moved with their only child to make their permanent home in Atlanta, Georgia. With his father as a DJ, Ford grew up surrounded by the sounds of jazz, blues, and R&B from Earth, Wind & Fire to Al Green and more. After trying numerous instruments, at the age of nine Ford settled on the violin. In his Atlanta school years, he trained classically on the violin, with training from various members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and became a founding member of the DeKalb Youth Pops Orchestra. With his talents and passion for violin, Ford also joined the African American Philharmonic Orchestra (AAPO), working his way up to the esteemed position of Concert Master. While playing with the AAPO, he also performed for the Barry White. Growing up hearing different genres, Ford also followed his father's footsteps for a time as a DJ, and counts Stevie Wonder and pioneering violinists Noel Pointer and Jean-Luc Ponty among his musical influences. At his mother's urging to pursue education with a backup career path, Ford also completed a degree in Computer Information Systems.
Indulging his passion for violin at night in Atlanta’s sizzling music scene while living a dual life working as an IT programmer during the day, Ford’s talents attracted more and more attention from fans and peers, putting his career as a musician on the fast-track. He became a fixture on Atlanta's diverse music scene and his renown grew from the sounds of jazz, hip-hop and R&B he was playing on the electric violin, enthralling audiences wherever he went. With his passion for the violin and increasing success as an artist, he decided to make the leap full-time to music after finding himself unemployed in the mid 90s.
Following the leap into music and pursuing electric violin full speed ahead, Ford has also taken the sound of strings to another level from edgy and funky to contemporary, on stage and into the recording studio with a range of superstar artists including Bruno Mars, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Wyclef Jean, Maxwell, Cee Lo Green and more.
Ford has released a trio of albums, with his following multiplying on each successive album: Burnt Toast (2001), Chevelle Lane (2003), and his third, the 2009 release Right Now. His fourth album State of Mind, was most recently released on August 16, 2011 on the new Twelve Music Group label.
An Atlanta fixture as a musician and activist, Ford is also an ardent supporter of keeping music education alive in the schools, playing and hosting benefits, and meeting with youth wherever he can while touring, to educate them on music appreciation as part of his foundation. In July 2010 he created The Ken Ford Foundation to advocate for the role of arts and music in enhancing a child's education, creativity and self-confidence, as well as dispelling unpopular notions about violin and stringed instruments among youth as an unexciting instrument solely for classical music. Ford has also been announced to perform in the Otis Redding celebration "An Evening of RESPECT" taking place September 10, 2011 in Macon, Georgia. The musical tribute will also benefit Redding's Big "O" Youth Educational Dream Foundation, a foundation founded to help youth improve in access to educational opportunities and enhance awareness of music, arts and the humanities.
- 2001 Burnt Toast (KF Productions BMI)
- 2003 Chevelle Lane (KF Productions BMI)
- 2005 Ken Ford Live DVD (Ken Ford, Inc.)
- 2009 Right Now (Ken Ford, Inc. & Sojo Music, Inc)
- 2011 State of Mind (Twelve Music Group)
- unknown (June 2009). "Meet Musician Ken Ford". The Georgia Informer. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
- unknown (2008). "Ken Ford". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
- Atlanta & Company (August 15, 2011). "Ken Ford". WXIA 11 Alive News. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Poole,Shelia (August 18, 2011). "Violinist Ken Ford Releases 4th CD State of Mind". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- admin (February 6, 2011). "Ken Ford Valentine Event". Best of Atlanta Concerts. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
- Hull, Troy (August 14, 2011). "Carolina Concert Jazz Series 2011:Euge Groove and Ken Ford". JazzTimes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Morrison, T (March 9, 2011). "Electric Violinist Ken Ford Presents 'March Madness' a Benefit Concert for Music and Arts Education". 11Alive.com. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
- Wolfe, Roman (August 11, 2011). "Life and Times of Otis Redding To Be Celebrated This September". AllHipHop.com. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Official website
- Twelve Music Group
- "Meet Musician Ken Ford", The Georgia Informer
- "Sensational Jazz Series Returns, Electric Violinist Ken Ford Sparks Off Season", The Urban Music Scene, July 2009
- "Jazz Fest's bigger home a hit at Pier Park", Panama City News Herald, April 18, 2010
- “Ken Ford Valentine Event”, from Best of Atlanta Concerts, February 6, 2011
- "Ken Ford Foundation March Madness", News 11 Alive, March 9, 2011
- "JazzTonic Tonic of The Week Ken Ford", JazzTonic, May 1, 2011
- "Ken Ford's State of Mind Unveiled", V-103, August 12, 2011
- "Carolina Jazz Concert Series 2011", JazzTimes, August 14, 2011
- "Ken Ford", Atlanta & Company (WXIA-TV 11 Alive), August 15, 2011
- "You are invited to the live recording of Ken Ford at the Buckhead Theatre", 11Alive.com (WXIA-TV), August 17, 2011