Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Franklin, Henry (C.) "Skipper"

Franklin, Henry (C.) "Skipper"; bass; b. 1 Oct. 1940, Los Angeles. His father was Sammy Franklin, a well known trumpeter and bandleader in Los Angeles.

As a youth Henry tap danced and studied clarinet and piano before settling on the bass. He got classical lessons, and later studied with Al McKibbon and George Morrow. While attending L.A. High School and the Manual Arts High School, he began working professionally, first with the Roy Ayers Latin Jazz Quintet which also included Bill Henderson, Carl Burnett and Elmo Jones. He attended L.A. City College while still working with Ayers as well as with Curtis Amy (both ca. 1960-62), then worked with Nellie Lutcher (1963) and various others.

In 1967 began a year of touring with Willie Bobo, mostly on the East Coast. During nights off he performed with Archie Shepp (1968), and after Bobo he joined Hugh Masekela (1968-70) during which time he played on Masekela's hit record "Grazin' in the Grass," recorded in L.A. Since that time he has played with many notable artists in a variety of styles, as indicated by his discography, among them the Three Sounds (early 1970s), Hampton Hawes (European tour and recordings, 1971), Dexter Gordon (1971), Gerry Mulligan (1971), O.C. Smith (1972), Sonny Rollins (1972), Harold Land, Gerald Wilson, Sonny Criss (all during 1973-4), Freddie Hubbard (1975), Pharoah Sanders (1984), Steve Lacy (1985), Count Basie (1986), Teddy Edwards (1990-91), Roy Ayers again (1991), Randy Weston (1991-5), Luluk Purwanto and the Helsdingen Trio (1993-9, for work in Los Angeles and several extensive European tours), as well as leading his own trio (1986-9).

As leader:
The Skipper (1972), Skipper at Home (1973), Blue Lights (1978), Tribal Dance (1978), We Came To Play (1986), Shalabongo (1990), Bassic Instincts (1996), The Hunter (1998), Two Worlds (1999), Bass Encounters (2000), Three Worlds (2001), Sakura (2002), Tribute to Gene Harris (2003)

As sideperson:
Hugh Masekela: Africa (1968), Live at the Whiskey A GoGo (1969); John Carter/Bobby Bradford: Self-Determination Music (1970), Secrets (1972); Doug Carn: Infant Eyes (1972); Three Sounds: Live at the It Club, Vols. I and II (1973); Freddie Hubbard: Liquid Love, Mr. Gleem (both 1975); Dennis Gonzales: Little Toot (1986), Steffan (1988), Dabengi Dabengi (1989), Desert Wind (1992).
NOTE - Although his name does not appear in the individual song credits, Franklin did some work on Stevie Wonder's 1979 release, The Secret Life of Plants, and his name appears in the "Thank You"'s.


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