Archive for April, 2011
In the span of the next 6 days I will be interviewing 3 more titans of spiritual jazz who all cemented their legacy in the “searching period” of the early seventies – Henry Franklin, George Cables and Mickey Roker.
First up this Saturday is “The Skipper” Henry Franklin who grew up in Southern California with Carl Burnett and Roy Ayers, played bass on Masekela’s “Grazin In the Grass” and collaborated with Hamp Hawes, Michael Howell and Woody Shaw on albums in the early seventies.
When Gene Russell started up “Black Jazz” Henry was at the helm with two superb albums; “The Skipper” and “The Skipper At Home.” Both albums feature all the great black jazz players in Southern California such as Al Hall, Calvin Keys, Roland Haynes, Kirk Lightsey and many more. After Gene passed and the Black Jazz Label went with him Henry put out his only album on Catalyst entitled “Tribal Dance.” This is a soaring album of a time remembered and a longing to look ahead. Dwight Dickerson plays sterling piano on this album and Henry is featured on upright throughout. Woodrow Theus/Sonship/Masked Marvel plays drums as well. This was all done under the tutelage of producer and equally great saxophonist Pat Britt who I am still trying to track down.
Henry was also featured on a Japanese Tour with Freddie Hubbard called “Gleam.” It’s a super dope album of funk-tinged jams featuring Freddie, Carl Randall on Sax, George Cables on electric piano and percussionist Buck Clarke. At the time Freddie had just released Liquid Love (’75) and Henry is seen in full force on “Midnight at the Oasis” dropping bombs left and right. They also do great versions of ‘Betcha Bye Golly Wow,” and ‘Put It In the Pocket.” The interesting thing about this album was that Henry played Fender Bass.
Today “The Skipper” continues to perform at the Mission Inn in Riverside California where he has held shop for the last 10 years. He has his own record label (Skipper Productions) and just last November released his latest album as a leader entitled “The Soul of the World which features Theo Saunders on Piano, Ramon Banda on Drums and Nolan Shaheed on Trumpet.
Henry Franklin this week only on the JFS…..
I worry about the psychological impact of our impotent bi-cameral legislature and executive branch. Not the psychological impact on our representatives but on average American people.
If the government does shutdown (effective Midnight Eastern Time tonight) it will be catastrophic for the soul of our country. Essentially the politicians are hagering over 30 Billion dollars of discretionary spending. This is a drop in the bucket when measured against the size of the national debt. In essence the dysfunctionality of the shutdown can be viewed through a very succinct prism – there would be food available to feed the animals at the zoo but no zookeeper to feed them. The same thing is true for education in that there is tremendous incentive for politicians to enhance the public schools with the best public schools and digital technology but who than to teach it?
In a larger sense politicians want to flaunt the gaudiness of our culture, the “bling bling” if you will, but this country has survived and prospered through the decades because of a flourishing artisan class, trade workers and teachers. People that are doing or creating on a holistic level not the drudgery of some mass-produced corporate entity.
Artists have skills that are not quantifiable. Their work and thoughtfulness make communities brighter, livelier and deeply spiritual. They are plumbers, pipe fitters and landscapers who inevitably help other families through their services by repairing infrastructure, remodeling and beatification.
Teachers have the greatest opportunity (outside of the parent) to mold a child’s future, help them understand their strengths and appreciate where they need to grow. Teachers provide the basis for literacy learning and in doing so empower children who otherwise would not be so inclined.
These are all members of our society who pay taxes, abide by the law, and do the best they can everyday to provide for their families. But because many of their skills are not quantifiable they become the whipping boy for reactionary media outlets. Everything in our society needs to have a $ value attachment. If you can’t measure it in dollars and cents than it must not be efficient and we can do with out it.
Our societies values are screwed up. Athletes, Entertainers, Lobbyists, Attorneys, and other high profile marketers make excessive livings. This is not to say they don’t work hard or don’t deserve compensation for that work but when your talking about individual people making hundreds of millions of dollars, more than they will “ever” need in their lifetime there is a severe disconnect going on. This is even more apparent when you cross-section this with a teacher in a “Right to Work” state who hasn’t seen a raise or cost of living increase in 7 years. It makes you think that not only are the priorities paramount but even scarier those not deemed a priority can just go away. Look at the media attention paid to Glenn Beck leaving Fox News and than cross that with the last time you saw any coverage of the struggles of the marginal middle class or working poor.
The psychological impact of a looming shutdown reinforces to the demagogues that might makes right which will continue the downward trajectory of those who are just getting by. A psychological crisis is worse than a physical one and for our country it will lead to atrophy.
Interviewing Pat Martino was a true revelation. The truth is that for Pat to reach out and give me as much time as I needed to feel fulfilled (his words not mine) show’s you what a class act he truly is. Like anyone else in this game called life Pat has dealt with his fair share of challenges. He is not detached from his own existence the way so many people can become. He approaches all invitations and relationships through the prism of love and mutual acceptance. Without respect there is nothing.
Pat has also given “The Jake Feinberg Show” a boost of instant credibility. Being my first guest in what is to become a devotional to cultural heritage has allowed others to gravitate to this endeavor. This is one of the unseen moments of folklore. It’s the unquantifiable, the relentless pursuit of shared conception.
Pat, it was an honor and a pleasure and I look forward to doing it again real soon.