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Skipper/Cables/Roker….

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.....