"Manhattan Blues", Candid

Tenorman Ford, a veteran of bands led by Charles Mingus and Mercer Ellington, displays his enterprising manner of combining modern and traditional values into a very appealing style. His big, rollicking sound and fleet improvisations make him sound like Ben Webster and Sonny Rollins rolled up in one.

Backed by Jaki Byard (piano), Milt Hinton (bass) and Ben Riley (drums), Ford launches into six originals and three classics, Erroll Garner's "Misty" and Miles Davis' "Half Nelson" included. He wades through Monk's "In Walked Bud," knocking out gnarled, curving lines with aplomb; on the ballad, "Portrait of Mingus," he's sentimental without being cloying.

Byard, a magical maverick, does not let us down, and the ageless Hinton (he's 79) and Riley are the uplifting pair the bottom of a rhythm section should be.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to five stars (a classic).

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