This is a unit recently formed, but formulation has been brewing for over a year now. It is most certainly a combination of different styles rolled into one. I will explain.
Kimberly Ford is an accomplished singer of whom I became aware about three years ago. She is a Santa Barbara resident where she lives with her husband. My large Concert Jazz Orchestra performed a Sunday in the Spring of that year for the Santa Barbara Jazz Society. The Society has concert events once a month at SOhO Music Club. When we played there, I made available flyers giving information about my Northwoods Jazz Camp, held every May in northern Wisconsin. Kimberly, a member of the local Jazz Society, made a decision to attend the Camp as a student.
Well, when the Camp started and I heard her sing, I was most pleasantly surprised at mastery with which she sang. Her intonation, jazz phrasing and tone quality were unusually good for a student. In fact, she demonstrated that she was thoroughly professional. Kimberly did fit in well and enjoyed the Camp even though the quality of her performance was quite high.
It turns out the Kimberly Ford is a knowledgeable expert in the music of famous singer Joni Mitchell. She regularly does tribute concerts of Joni’s music in and out of her local area. She can really “nail” the style.
That was the start of us working together. I was so impressed, and, even though I’m not the Joni Mitchell fan or expert that she is, we now share a project that is a “twin” tribute, combining the music of jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock and singer Joni Mitchell. The fact is that Herbie and Joni worked together at one recent point in their careers.
Some people call us the “Kim & Kim” band, but we have come to be titled the Herbie Hancock/Joni Mitchell Project. Kimberly does the singing, I do the arrangements and play saxophones and flute. On some of our selections we combine the songs of the two, and on others play their separate compositions, but always with a jazz flare and style. Most of our numbers have a good amount of jazz improvisation.
This Sunday, July 9, will be our complete debut at the SOhO Music Club in Santa Barbara for the Santa Barbara Jazz Society (1 to 4 PM). The personnel (besides Kimberly and myself) in the 6-piece group are Will Brahm, guitar; Scott Healy, piano; Jordan Richards, bass; and James Yoshjzawa on percussion. In the Fall, we have a concert in the Jazz Series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.