Reviews for The Deep End

BSC News Magazine (France) - Full Interview (ENGLISH TRANSLATION)


BSC News Magazine (France) - Full Interview








BSC News (France)

BSC News Review

BSC Review Translation:

Jamila Ford has been on the jazz scene as a solo artist since the beginning of 2000 but continues to sing backup for first-class artists like Melody Gardot. The Deep End, her most recent production, features four covers and one original composition. We rediscover these cover songs through Jamila Ford's elegant and refined interpretation, and her bossa nova-tinged original composition, Silencio, leaves a wonderful impression of this talented singer. Already a true value, it will surprise you in the months to come!


Ford displays a silky, elegant voice on this seductive EP. She opens with a winning take on Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” Her performance of “Gentle Rain” washes over the listener in lush fashion. She swings sweetly on “Sugar.” Her sensitive rendition of “Wild Is The Wind” (by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington from the film of the same name) is breathtaking. And her own composition, “Silencio,” is a lovely, Latin-flavored number. Ford is ready to take her place among the the elite of sophisticated jazz vocalists."


Jamila is a well-articulated vocalist performing in front of a solid band. The program has five classic songs totaling less than 25 minutes but still a good effort. Our favorite is "All Blues" where she is more melodic than spoken with the lyrics as with other versions of this well-covered tune. The arrangements are unique with tempo and style variations that don't detract from the original character of the songs.

FAME Review

I have a standing policy that EPs I review must have at least 5 cuts for me to consider them (we critics are Tin Hitlers and quite imperious in our swinish idiosyncracies—unless we write for Rolling Stone; then we're just whores), so thank goodness Jamila Ford decided to cut a fiver because her version of one of my all-time favorite songs, Wild is the Wind (made famous by Anthony Newley and blown to the stars by David Bowie) is a take that digs into the composition and unearths its novo-madrigal roots, making the track very very VERY personal, more so than any version I've ever heard. A duet with guitarist Mitchell Long, I listened to the cut three times before going back to the first selection…and man, was I ever in for a surprise, 'cause this girl has an extremely sophisticated way with things and is lively as hell, recalling the upstart spirit of Nina Simone, one of modern music's saintesses, while savoring the best of sophisticated modern mellow city-jazzisms.

Mile's All Blues becomes a perky, spunky, fragmented but highly melodic take, Long again a prime figure in its evocations, pianist Pete Kuzma right behind him. Then Bonfa's marvelous Gentle Rain arises, and the atmospherics become almost incidentalist, cinematic. Tremelo vocals, it appears, have fallen somewhat out of style lately, but not so with Ford, and here she modulates herself in a fashion lost decades ago. Kuzma decides the key essences and drummer Chuck Staab abets them, mixing his chops up to usher the percussive aspects back into musical accompaniment rather than just metronomic standby. Right now, Manhttan Beach, whence I pen this critique, is undergoing a moody, balmy, El Nino rain phase, and Ford's cut is practically a painted reflection of it. If you'll excuse me for a moment, I'd like to take another pull or two on my bourbon 'n Coke, 'cause this is intelligent hedonism and then some.

I'll leave the remaining cuts for the reader to discover on his/her own, the aforegoing a teaser. As far as I can discern, this is a debut disc, and, since Ford is presently in a unique position in the changing music business flow, you can even grab her for a private in-home concert. I suggest you and 20+ friends do so because once she's discovered—and I doubt that will take very long at all—she'll be at The Apollo, The Blue Note, and God only knows where else, and you'll have missed a completely unique opportunity. In fact, as soon as I can work out how to ransack the Bank of America down in Hawthorne, I'll be having her over…if the authorities will wait long enough before carting me off to Alkatrazz. It's worth the risk. Seriously.

The Jazz Page

Jamila Ford has earned her chops in part as a backing vocalist for other artists. The experience and confidence she earned serves her well. Her latest effort, The Deep End is a diverse production which showcases the facets of her daring artistry. Ford covers the gamut between classic pop and jazz standards, as well as Latin-flavored numbers. The arrangements on the effort are decidedly fresh and engaging.The musical backdrop is provided by the talented lineup of Mitchell Long on guitar, Peter Kuzma on piano, Leslie King on bass, Chuck Staab on drums, Pete Korpella on percussion and Anthony Bonsera on trumpet and flugelhorn. Ford vocals soar through the notes and leaves you wanting to hear more at the end of this 5-song EP, which is a great thing. Do check her out.

The great jazz vocalist Carmen McRae once famously advised a musician in her band,"if there is nothing to play, play nothing." McRae understood, and adhered to a sustaining adage in jazz that: less is more.

Jamila Ford's latest CD: THE DEEP END, certainly suggests that she is of similar persuasion: Ford performs only five songs on this date - no more: Her songs are painted in vivid sound colors; fearlessly she plunges into the depths of Universal emotions: happiness and sadness; and emerges an exquisite song stylist validating an impressive artistic repertoire with economy and style. Ford nails everything solidly in place with one-of-a-kind, exquisite, disarming freshness, bringing to mind with impact, another superb song stylist: Nancy Wilson and a 1961 classic date with the Canonball Adderley quintet. Ford however, increases the degree of difficulty significantly. She includes a composition of her own among her souvenirs, and scales the heights effortlessly with flawless interpretations of songs of iconic composers from trumpeter Miles Davis to film score composers Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington.

Only very confident song stylists lead off a date with a highlight: the definite high point. Properly executed, it can establish necessary trust between performer and listener. And that's the way Ford starts the session; establishing lots of trust with an attention-getting interpretation of Miles Davis' influential classic (All Blues). Ford's vocal colors are sharp, exciting, 'swingingly' pleasing to the ear, and further enhanced by Leslie King's innovative bass funk, and Pete Kuzma's contrasting, nuanced, adaptive, attention to modern keyboard detail.

From here, a graceful pivot from the lissome Ford lands in (Gentle Rain),a classic composed by Brazilian guitarist Luis Bonfa; out of which Anthony Bonsera's trumpet sound leans ever so elegantly towards muted, piercing, Milesian simplicity; spreading a haunting harmonic tapestry over which Ford extend a formidable pitch range, and a keen sense of dynamics nourished by an emotional honesty reminiscent of the late Abbey Lincoln.

The lyricist in Ford blossoms in her composition (Silencio). Her imagery is positive and takes on a life of its own; her creative concepts bear the convincing clarity and subtle intuition of a sage: "...the twinkle in the darkest midnight sky"; "...the dance between the dreamer and the dream." Ford stitches together these images in a sensuous, lilting Latin groove; perfect for close-contact dancing; keeping her creative center open, free and leaving nothing for the imagination to struggle unnecessarily over.

Unafraid of the effect of 'lightening' in new, sweet love, Ford displays genuine kittenish vulnerabilities in her interpretation of tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine's 1971 defining hit(Sugar). Ford puts over the song with the sweet assurance of a seasoned veteran. Contributing to this novel search for love's sweet tooth is Mitchell Long's exquisite guitar sound, supported by the always forward-propelled rhythm section of Kuzma, King and Stabb.

Keeping a lot of her best for the last, Ford reaches into the depth and breadth of her repertoire to offer a flawless reprise of Dimitri Tiomkin & Ned Washington's stunning composition(Wild Is The Wind) from the 1957 movie of the same name. Ford adroitly extracts the ache of longing suffused in the lyric; releasing the song's emotive power with an impeccable, impassioned reading of its subtle chromatic changes, backed by strong support from Long's indispensable, mindful, solo guitar.

Jamila Ford is the real deal; the full package; accomplished; professional. A seeker of excellence; able to harness vocal power on demand. Her ability to sustain maximum effort in search of the critical essence of economy and vitality stored 'in the deep end' of the artistic concept where 'less is more' resides, ought to position her career quest on an enviable trajectory of significant upward mobility.

Jamila Ford has backed names like Bonnie Pointer (Pointer Sisters) and Melody Gardot; she gets her turn front and center on this five track EP.

Not wasted. Confident and powerful, Ms. Ford motors through four off-the-beaten-track jazz standards, and one of her originals, “Silencio.” That’s the one that got my attention, standing up alongside the standards, but…well, original.

As my kid, the musician, says, “Anyone can do a decent cover. Do you have the chops to make something original stand out?”


The whole album is worthy of a five-spot. My favorites include “All Blues,” the opener, along with “Gentle Rain.”

And “Silencio.”  All three added to the playlist at

But buy the whole thing.  Highly recommended.

Midwest Record

With a bunch of high profile back up work and a lot of ambition, it’s hard to keep someone from stepping out on their own. Ford does just that with a EP of modern takes on jazz classics. A nice sophisticated snapshot that leaves you waiting for more, this is the kind of jazz presentation to keep millennials in the tent for a few more rounds. A very nice teaser for more.

The Brimingham Times - Musical Notes

It goes without saying that award-winning singer and songwriter Jamila Ford is a powerhouse of a vocalist. Her range is exceptional and her vocals are impeccable. The Deep End, her latest album, showcases just how multifaceted this songstress is (in case you didn’t already know!). It offers four wonderful interpretations with an extraordinary original (Silencio) that Ford penned herself. The Deep End absolutely presents Ford in her element – making beautiful music.

KUCI, Irvine, CA

EP from this jazz singer. Her tone is clean and clear, analogous to the perfection known as Nancy Wilson (no not the singer from Heart!). Her version of "All Blues" is up tempo and has acid jazz elements (piano stylings like Kris Bowers). "Silencio" is the required Brazilian/Latin Jazz cut but it's a catchy ditty. The highlight is the deeply etched ballad "Wild Is The Wind".


I spent part of my time trying to figure out who Jamila Ford covered on the song “Silencio.” The tune is one of five featured on the California vocalist’s new EP The Deep End. I figured that it had to be a remake as the other four cuts, including the funky bass driven rendition of Miles Davis’ “All Blues” that features Ford’s soulful interpretation of Oscar Brown Jr.’s lyrics, were remakes.

“Silencio,” with its New Orleans shuffle meets Brazilian bossa nova had me thinking this was something penned by Jobim. Then I read Ford’s biography and realized that “Silencio,” is an original, and I came away from The Deep End even more impressed.

“Silencio” fits in with the better-known tracks such as “Gentle Rain,” and “Sugar” in every way. The Latin tinged arrangement is one to which couples can dance, but it’s Ford’s lyricism when describing the unspoken and spiritual connection between lovers that will lead listeners to assume this tune came forth in a different time – a time when quality wordsmithing was an expectation.

“It is the blue behind a cloudy April sky/It’s the trust that makes us never question why/The gentle whispering wind between the leaves/It causes flowers to bloom faithfully though sunlight can’t be seen/Silencio, between you and me/The dance between the dreamer and the dream.”

Finally, Ford possesses a vocal instrument that allows her to move from the achingly melancholy ballad of longing, “Wild Is The Wind,” to the swinging blues of “Sugar” with an effortlessness that makes it appear that anyone can do it. However, Ford sports a CV that reminds listeners that such skill is the end result of years of hard work studying and backing up talents such as Melody Gardot. Ford definitely learned from Gardot because “Silencio” is every bit as catchy as Gardot’s breakthrough cut “Baby, I’m a Fool.” Jamila Ford is the real deal, and has the skills to make listeners go over The Deep End for her.  Heartily Recommended.

It’s easy to dismiss much of modern jazz as unadventurous and as guilty of reviving the past glory of others as any less accomplished genre. However, it is also fair to say that if you seek technical proficiency and sheer artistic precision then jazz is still your go to genre.

Jamila Ford is a jazz singer possessed of both subtlety and skill and the five songs on her EP “The Deep End” are nothing if not evidence of her stylistic elegance and interpretative abilities. She shows such authority over “Gentle Rain” and “Sugar” that you could imagine that these songs had been written with her in mind and, within the Latin decorated walls of her own composition “Silencio”, she even manages to create a song that many a similarly talented singer would readily take to their own heart.

Jamila Ford is a joy to the ears to connoisseurs of classy female vocals and, as always, she has caused me to make automotive comparisons so, based on “The Deep End”, she would have to be compared to a classic Pininfarina creation like the Lancia 2000HF Coupe. You can’t get cooler than that unless, of course, air conditioning is your thing.

Jamila Ford is a Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter who’s earned a strong reputation both as a soloist as well as a touring singer for the likes of Melody Gardot and Bonnie Pointer.

Several months back, I reached out to Miss Ford and requested she send me her latest album. She kindly noted she was working on new material and promised to send it along when it was finished. And she kept her word (which, you might be surprised to learn, is not always the case with independent artists).

Her newest work, scheduled to release on September 1, is a five song EP that includes covers of four standards along with one original. The lead cut, her reading of “All Blues,” proves Miss Ford to be a muscular singer with a hearty command of her instrument and features solid guitar and piano work from Mitchell long and Pete Kuzma, respectively. On Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar,” she restrains herself admirably, turning the song into a sultry, mid-tempo swinger. Her interpretation of “Wild Is The Wind” is darkly rich and earthy, set primarily over Long's solo guitar. Long’s a strong player, as is Kuzma, showing that Miss Ford’s confidence to surround herself with talented players.

Propers to her for delivering a nice, albeit too short, recording. Hopefully the future will bring the financing necessary to expand her next set into a full fledged album. Jamila Ford is an artist worthy of your attention.

Reviews for Enough

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Jamila Ford has the vocal ability to interpret many musical genres; her 2002 EP Fabulous was funk, soul, and R&B, and her 2010 EP Traces of the Day was jazz and soul. On her first full-length, Enough, Ford is the small woman in the coffeehouse with the big voice. Enough features Ford mixing acoustic soul with folk and rock reminiscent of Sheryl Crow and Fiona Apple. If you like that sound, Enough will make you feel right at home; if you don't know Ford's soulful execution and introspective lyrics, this will give you a new appreciation. An award-winning songwriter and accomplished background vocalist, Enough showcases Ford in her element at the forefront. Ford lets listeners in on her own appreciation of her musical gifts with the smooth, melodic track, "Music II". Ford's lyrics and voice are equally emotional and strong with her reflections on love and heartache. On "Thank You For Loving Me", Ford sings her imperfect truths ("I am a sinner /I think things I shouldn't/Don't like to make promises/Cause it's work to keep them") and shows her appreciation for a lover that continues to be there - flaws and all. "A Little Too Much" has minimal production, featuring acoustic guitar and Ford's sultry voice musing about loving too hard, and the contemporary R&B feel of "If You Ever Loved Me" is about letting go. Ford is less convincing in the slow rock of "Easy For You" and "Make Me Forget", where she softens her commanding voice that doesn't quite evoke the emotion of the lyrics. Nevertheless, on Enough, Ford takes soul to a stripped-down progression that is exceedingly insightful, and listeners will definitely want more of what Ford's expression is giving.

2011 Independent Music Awards Nomination Press Release

Los Angeles's Own Jamila Ford Joins Ra Ra Riot, Melissa Auf der Maur, Flying Lotus, Jim Campilongo, Jackson Browne, and David Lindley As Nominees for The 10th Independent Music Awards - More Than 300 Self-Released and Independent Label Talent Nominated

February, 17 2011 – Los Angeles-based Jamila Ford joins Ra Ra Riot, Melissa Auf der Maur, Flying Lotus, Hemoptysis, Darrell Scott, Jim Campilongo, Jackson Browne and David Lindley and other self-released and independent-label talent as Nominees for The 10th Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential awards program for independent bands and fans.

Representing the broad spectrum of today's global independent music scene, the more than 300 Nominees in nearly 70 Song, Album, Music Video and Design categories were culled from submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Known for celebrating artists that follow their own muse, The 10th IMA Nominees are an eclectic mix of rising stars, including Strawfoot (Alt. Country Song), Hemoptysis (Metal/Hardcore Song), and Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three (Amerciana Album), as well as established talent, including telecaster virtuoso Jim Campilongo (Instrumental Album), experimental multi-genre artist Flying Lotus (Music Video and Dance/Electronica Song), and indie rockers Ra Ra Riot (Pop/Rock Album). Perhaps better known as major label acts, this year's Nominees strutting their independence include former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur (Indie/Alt./Hard Rock Album) and songwriting legend Jackson Browne with David Lindley (Live Performance Album).

Winners will be determined by a panel of 62 influential artist and industry judges, including Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Suzanne Vega, Aimee Mann, Pete Wentz, Bettye LaVette, Seal, Adam Duritz, Ozzy Osbourne, Arturo Sandoval, Martin Atkins, Andrew W. K., Shelby Lynne, Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour), Bill Bragin (Lincoln Center), Anthony DeCurtis (Rolling Stone), Pat McGuire (Filter Magazine), and Evan Schlansky (American Songwriter) and will be announced in mid-March 2011. Music fans have until July 11 to cast their votes at The IMA Vox Pop Jukebox to determine the fan-selected IMA Winners.

Hear the music of all Nominees at:

Cool and classy modern soul pop. This is the debut full-length release from Los Angeles, California's Jamila Ford... and it's a keeper. So many modern soul artists feel the need to inject/infect their music with traces of rap or blasts of hip-hop. Ford stays focused on Enough... never letting her music regress into those predictable samey genres. She's got a great voice... really, really, really great... and she comes across sounding so genuine and real that you can't help but be swept away by her music. Enough is sultry, friendly, inviting, and ultimately very real. Jamila loves music, and this is obvious in every word that she sings. She wrote all ten songs on this album, and they all hit the target. Our favorite tracks include "Ordinary People," "Make Me Forget," "A Little Too Much," and "Never Explain." One of the best soul/pop albums we've heard in months...LOVE IT. Top pick.

Stage Door Music Reviews

Right now the Billboard charts are topped by auto-tuned popsters backed by MIDI drum beats; I guess every fad has its day. Luckily, I get to hear what is happening at an independent level, and 2010 presented plenty of gorgeous pop records filled with live instrumentation. Jamila Ford's third album, Enough, is one of those gems. On her previous records, Ford was content to show off her blues and jazz roots, but on Enough, she brings out the coffee-house soul grooves.

Opening track "Ordinary People" is such a groove, testing the limits of booty-shaking as Ford's phenomenal vocals recall kindred spirits Roberta Flack and Gladys Knight. Besides that amazing voice, Ford's heartfelt songs unveil a blossoming songwriter. Songs like "Easy For You", "Thank You For Loving Me", and "A Little Too Much" are intense love ballads with incredibly catchy harmonies and insightful sentiments of the heart. Clearly, Ford is trying to break into the mainstream by selecting a wider range of material – tracks like "Not Exactly Perfect" and "Make Me Forget" remind me of Maroon 5 – but at the very core of Enough is a lust for love, life, and music. (Skinny Chick Records)

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I was thinking about a car. A Cadillac car at that, and not some modern day-shed like a CTS, but something like a 1960 Coupe De Ville. Yes, one of the cool Cadillacs. Of course, if I had such a cool car, I'd want the right tunes to play upon its trusty eight-track. Listening to Jamila Ford's soulful Enough album solved that problem.

In fact, it didn't take much more than the first song on this album to make me reach that conclusion. "Ordinary People" has that old-fashioned – and I mean that in a good way – groove just like you used to get in a Curtis Mayfield song, and Ms. Ford doesn't miss and hit the wall with her impassioned delivery. Make no mistake here - she's much more than a supper-club singer doing a retro turn. As a songwriter, she has a finely-honed ear for commerce, and you could imagine the likes of Mariah Carey getting right into "Thank You For Loving Me", but that's not the thing, or should that be "thang", as it is Ms. Ford's voice that steals your heart. Her timing and phrasing hit the mark every time, and it doesn't take long for her sassy and streetwise sound to take control of timeless urban grooves like "Make Me Forget", or even a super-cool, stripped-down acoustic workout like "Never Explain".

The lady can sweat pure emotion. I know it, because I can feel it. Available from CD Baby.