Ford was born in Woodlake but raised in Ukiah, California, and began playing the saxophone at age 10, picking up the guitar at age 13. Ford began playing professionally at age 18 backing Charlie Musselwhite, before putting together a band with Bay Area musicians that became Jimmy Witherspoon’s backup band. Ford recorded two albums with Witherspoon, Live and Spoonful’. In the 1970s, Ford began to branch out into Jazz fusion and joined L.A. Express in 1974. That same year they backed George Harrison on his American tour. In addition to recording fusion albums, they served as Joni Mitchell’s backup band on Hissing of Summer Lawns and her live album, Miles of Aisles. After leaving L.A. Express in 1976, Ford recorded his solo album, The Inside Story with a band that was to become the Yellowjackets. He went on to play a starring role on the first two Yellowjackets albums. Ford worked briefly with Miles Davis in 1986; he can be heard on Davis’ Montreux box set. Ford released his next album, called Talk to Your Daughter in 1988, a return to his blues roots. In 1989 he joined Philippe Saisse, Marcus Miller and J.T. Lewis in the cast of The Sunday Night Band for the second and final season of the acclaimed late-night NBC television musical performance program, Sunday Night. His work in the 1990s includes Robben Ford and the Blue Line, and Tiger Walk. In addition to recording and touring with his own blues band, Ford continued to tour and play with other bands/artists such as Jing Chi (his fusion band), Gregg Allman and Phil Lesh. He has received nominations for four Grammy Awards.