Ricky Ford had the misfortune to emerge in the '70s, a decade before Dr. George Butler devised his crafty "young lions" marketing scheme. Ford's rich tone and rhythmically slashing tenor style received comparatively little media buildup, and he's maintained his growth and excellence through the '80s and '90s, while still getting far less recognition than his playing has earned. Ford was a drummer as a teen, then began playing tenor at 15. Ran Blake helped him enter the New England Conservatory at 17; he studied there with Bill Saxton before leaving in 1974 to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra under Mercer Ellington. Ford replaced George Adams in Charles Mingus' band in 1976 and later helped Mingus with transcriptions. He made his debut as a leader in 1977, featuring an album of only his originals. Ford later played briefly with The Mingus Dynasty and led groups and played with Lionel Hampton and Abdullah Ibrahim in the '80s. He has recorded for New World, Muse, and Candid. Ford has sessions available on CD.