— Reviews for The Deep End

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!” - Nicolas Vidal

— BSC News (France)

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.” - Paul Freeman


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.” - D. Oscar Groomes


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. ” - M.S. Tucker

FAME Review

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.  ” - Glenn Daniels

The Jazz Page

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.” - CJ Bond


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?” Yep. 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 62ndStreet.com. But buy the whole thing.  Highly recommended.” - Doug Boynton


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.” - Chris Spector

— Midwest Record