Ricky Ford Quartet

Saturday - March, 28 @ 8:00pm

Ricky Ford - tenor saxophone
John Kordalewski - piano
John Sullivan - bass
Austin McMahon - drums

Ricky Ford has long been recognized as one of the leading jazz tenor saxophonists of his generation.

Born in Boston on March 4th, 1954, Ricky Ford was trained at the New England Conservatory of Music by Gunther Schuller, Ran Blake, Jaki Byard, and George Russell. Mercer Ellington invited him to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra just a few months after the passing of Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves. Afterwards, he went on to work with Charles Mingus (1976-1977), Dannie Richmond (1978-1981), Beaver Harris (1980-1981), Lionel Hampton (1980-1982), Abdullah Ibrahim (1983-1990), and Mal Waldron (1989-1994), and made recording sessions with Yusef Lateef, Sonny Stitt, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Amina Claudine Myers, Sathima Bea Benjamin and Steve Lacy, to just name a few. Throughout his career, Ricky Ford has strived to master different musical genres, from swing to hard bop to free; he represents the full range of the jazz tradition in a way that distinguishes him from most contemporary saxophonists.

As a leader, Ricky Ford has recorded 21 albums and authored a vast repertoire of original compositions. He is also a unique arranger and conductor. From 1985 to 1996 he led Brandeis University’s big band, arranging the works of composers whose music had never been played by big bands. When he settled in Paris in the 1990s, he created another big band before moving to Turkey to teach at the Istanbul Bilgi University (2000-2006). For the past years, Ricky Ford has been working with Ze Big Band, conducted by Fred Burgazzi, with whom he has recorded two beautiful albums, 7095 (2009), and Sacred Concert (2013). Ford and Ze Big Band recently created Sketches of Brittany at the Jazz Festival of Vitré.  He is currently collaborating with Boston’s Makanda Project to present new compositions based on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Ricky Ford has been exploring different aspects of art throughout his career.  In addition to being a bandleader, an in demand sideman, and a prolific composer, he has taught in many contexts and served as artistic director of the Toucy Jazz Festival that he founded in 2008 in the French region Bourgogne. He also paints.

In recent years, Ricky Ford has been making more frequent trips back to the U.S., where a new generation of jazz fans are coming to appreciate this masterful saxophonist.

Performing with Ricky Ford at Blue will be pianist and long-time colleague JOHN KORDALEWSKI, best known as leader of the renowned Boston big band the Makanda Project; bassist JOHN SULLIVAN, who was a member of Roy Haynes’ Fountain of Youth band for several years; and AUSTIN McMAHON, one of the most in-demand drummers on the Boston scene.

Upcoming Events

Happy Hour with Andrea Re & Friends

Thursday, February 27th

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Frank Fotusky

Thursday, February 27th

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Friday on a Thursday!

Thursday, February 27th

9:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Choro Louco

Friday, February 28th

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Ian Steinberg

Friday, February 28th

8:00 PM - 9:30 PM


Friday, February 28th

10:00 PM - 11:59 PM


650A Congress Street, Portland ME

Mon: 5PM-11PM
Tues: 6PM-12AM
Wed: 5PM-12AM
Thurs: 5PM-12AM
Fri & Sat: 5PM-1AM
Sun: 4PM-10PM

Blue has won Portland’s Best Jazz Venue for several years in a row and dedicates every Saturday night to Jazz at Blue.

We are a DONATION BASED venue. Please show your support to the musicians by donating to the basket by the stage. Because we don’t charge a cover and 100% of your donations go to the musicians we respectfully ask that each person make a ONE PURCHASE MINIMUM of food/beverage to help support the room. All seats are first come, first served (feel free to share a table). We do not take reservations.