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Henry Franklin

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  • Born: California
  • Years Active: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Jazz bassist Henry Franklin was born in 1940, the son of West Coast jazz trumpeter Sammy Franklin. Henry Franklin began his own career while he was still in high school, playing with his contemporary, Roy Ayers, in the latter's Latin jazz quintet. This experience put Franklin on the path to his work with Latin jazz bandleader and percussionist Willie Bobo. His work with Bobo in New York also led to Franklin's playing with Archie Shepp.

Franklin later played with Hugh Masekela, appearing on the latter's number one single, "Grazing in the Grass," and the album Promise of a Future (1968), which was among Franklin's earliest official recording credits (and was one of the bigger-selling jazz albums of 1968). He got further exposure from his work with Masekela when Franklin played in the band that the South African-born trumpet player brought to the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967 -- their appearance there was immortalized in the D.A. Pennebaker documentary film of the event, Monterey Pop.

In the decades since, Franklin -- often referred to as "the Skipper" -- has played and recorded with Gene Harris & the Three Sounds, Freddie Hubbard, Bobbi Humphrey, Hampton Hawes, et al., as well as releasing a brace of albums by his own band right into the 21st century.