Zurich Jazz Talks #19

We had the honor of being on stage with Robben Ford at Moods Zurich at the end of last year, and immediately jumped at the chance to talk to him about home, emigrating to Europe, his musical career and his collaboration with the Zurich Jazz Orchestra. He also tells us about how he recently took a new shot at the saxophone and abandoned the endeavor after 15 minutes.

Robben Ford is an American guitarist whose list of previous fellow musicians is a downright “who’s who” of the rock, pop and jazz world. And yet, for this occasion, we didn’t pick up Robben Ford at the airport or from his tour bus, but at Zurich’s main train station on platform 14, because the American guitarist emigrated to Paris a few months ago and traveled from there to Zurich by TGV. Interestingly enough, his musical carreer wasn’t the reason for this decision – on the contrary: he wants to retire in Europe and, except for occasional affairs like the concert with the ZJO, no longer work or tour in a big way. But playing music will never end, because he loves it too much for that: “I love to play, I just don’t want to work”.

Robben Ford’s career spans over 50 years and countless concerts. But you can count on two hands how many times he has played with big bands. His collaboration with the Zurich Jazz Orchestra was something new and exciting. He tells us why playing with a big band can be a way to relax and what it takes for him to do so.