ARTIST NAME: Richard Ford
SONG TITLE: Calango Reco
ALBUM TITLE: Basso Profondissimo
GENRE: Jazz, Bossa Nova, Ambient
State your reason for choosing music as a career.
I’ve been a musician all my life. I love music in its many forms – I was a professional musician for many years before working with music in film.
Tell us how you write the lyrics to your song.
My music is instrumental or with scat vocals.
Discuss your music career and elaborate on the recording of this EP.
Emmy winner Richard Ford is a bass player, a music editor, and executive music producer for film, he has worked with many Oscar-winning filmmakers on such films as Sideways, Argo, and Hidden Figures, formerly he was bass player with Joe Jackson and guitarist Bill Nelson.
Richard Ford’s Basso Profondissimo EP was recorded in Venice, California in the spring and summer of 2018.
The collection was conceived and played on bass, creating a unique and surprising melding of sounds and adding some rough edges to the genres of jazz, ambient, bossa nova, and neoclassical.
This is not a collection concerned with virtuosity; it’s about evoking moods and character, not about ﬂash.
Sharing some of the same musical landscape as Sigur Rós, Lyle Mays, Bebel Gilberto, ECM Records, and Bill Frisell, Basso Profondissimo employs a cinematic language, often minimal and evocative.
All of the tracks were executed on bass, multi-tracked, and treated.
As Richard started to experiment with vocals (specifically the addition of the amazing Costa Rican vocalist Michelle Gonzalez) and new possibilities emerged — including a full-blown, fresh cover of George Duke’s Brazilian-inﬂuenced ‘Malibu’, which features a handful of world-class jazz musicians, among them renowned keyboardists Kait Dunton and Peter Gabriel alumnus Simon Clark.
The seeds of his EP Basso Profondissimo were sown in late-80s New York, where Richard had begun recording demos, and performing, exclusively with basses.
The project was put on hold when Richard moved to Los Angeles to work in film music.
Much of his work as a music editor involved reconstructing and remixing the work of others. While this has been creatively challenging, Richard felt “ the itch to get the basses out of the closet and create something that truly came from me.” Basso Profondissimo began to unfold.
These vast and varied influences have informed Richard’s work and shaped the rich diversity evident in Basso Profondissimo.
This signature collection is the culmination of Richard Ford’s extensive musical journey to date.
Discuss your life outside the music world.
I live in Southern California – work in the film industry as a music producer and editor.
Originally from the UK – I’ve lived in the U.S. for 30 years – Yes, I’m old! : )
Elaborate more on your music career.
Born in London, Richard grew up in a musical family, immersed in the classics from an early age.
He began performing as a boy, in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s choir.
His love of music eventually led to the bass, and he developed into an accomplished player.
He has toured and recorded with many artists, including the revered guitarist Bill Nelson (in his band Red Noise) and upon moving to the US, singer-songwriter Joe Jackson.
In New York, Richard discovered and embraced an ever-expanding world of music and culture — perhaps most significantly through his study of African and Afro-Caribbean music and dance. The rhythms he found there grew to become part of his musical DNA.
Richard moved to Los Angeles to work in film and film music. In that role, he has been an important member of director Alexander Payne’s creative team since 1998, earning credit as Executive Music Producer on their last three projects together (The Descendants, Nebraska, and Downsizing).
As an Emmy-winning music editor for film, he’s played a role in many successful productions, among them American History X, Training Day, Sideways, Argo, and Hidden Figures.
Elaborate on your EP’s title.
‘Basso Profondissimo’ [the name of my EP] is a spin on the term ‘Basso Profondo’ which is the very low voice in the classical choir, below ‘Bass’.
‘Profondissimo’ is ‘even more profound’ – and also can be construed as even deeper than ‘Profondo’.
My music was all conceived and executed on bass guitar – hence the reference.
Tell us your source of inspiration.
I’ve been musically inspired since I was a kid; listening to classical music, then jazz, then world music.
Any music that resonates… can inspire or take me to a place that gets my juices flowing.
Sometimes any sound I hear in the world can inspire, from birds to chain saws to voices.
Elaborate more on the recording of this song.
Initially ‘Calango Reco’ was multi-tracked bass guitars with some percussion samples – I was inspired by a percussion sample I started using on the track – the Reco-Reco [Brazilian instrument].
It sounded like a whispered vocal part to me. I got the amazing Costa Rican singer, Michelle Gonzalez, in the studio to sing the vocal parts I had in my head.
She went on to improvise over the top of the piece I’d created, multiple times.
From her improvisations, I edited melodies and parts.
The piece was mixed by renowned mixer Rich Breen.
Tell us about your future projects.
I am working on a follow-up to Basso Profondissimo, again mostly multi-tracked or solo bass guitars [at this point] but I hope to have some guests help out as the project progresses.
List the names of those that have supported you so far.
So far, it’s been mostly friends, music colleagues, and folks from the movie world.
Tell us your point of view on vocal tuning.
It’s a fine line between good and crap.
Tell us your viewpoint on comparing a music career to a non-music career.
Sort of depends on one’s expectations. Making money /a living from music can be challenging and frustrating.
Most often compromises have to be made, either in the music, one has to play or the realistic goals one has.
At this point, I do not expect to get rich from my music – but in some ways, that’s a blessing as I don’t have to try and please anyone but myself.
Tell us your opinion on categorizing music into genres and sub-genres.
It’s needed, but often misleading.
State the genre you despise most with reason.
I think music in any genre can be really good or really bad.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
‘Calango Reco’ – from the Reco Reco, (a Brazilian percussion instrument like a guiro),
‘Calango’ refers to a piece of Brazilian folk music. A percussion sample I used, that inspired the vocal elements in the song was called ‘Calango Reco Reco.’