Bassist Henry Franklin takes stage at Pierce Street Jazz
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) The Pierce Street Jazz series at La Sierra University will feature one of its founders in its next concert, a top musician and renowned bass player of the jazz industry.
Henry “the Skipper” Franklin will take the stage on Jan. 23 at the La Sierra University Alumni Center with a crew of experienced stage and studio musicians renowned for their skill. Ramon Banda, drums, Theo Saunders, piano, and Chuck Manning, saxophones, will accompany Franklin. Band members have performed and recorded with a long roster of famous acts including Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Poncho Sanchez, Tito Puente, Count Basie, Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, Bill Cunliffe, Branford Marsalis, Barbara Morrison, Gladys Knight, and many others.
The concert begins at 7 p.m. and is free admission. The event will also serve as an album release party for Franklin’s latest recording, “June Night.” The alumni center is located at 11500 Pierce St., Riverside. Further information is at 951-785-2148.
Franklin has organized the Pierce Street Jazz concerts at La Sierra University since their inception as a summer jazz series in 2009. The Los Angeles native’s storied background includes recordings on more than 150 albums and compact discs including gold releases, many of which he produced. He has performed with many headline artists and was part of the legendary Hugh Masekela’s band during the late 1960s. When not on tour in various parts of the United States and the world, Franklin performs at The Historic Mission Inn in Riverside, Calif. He toured Malaysia in November.
“I strive and work hard to do the best for jazz,” Franklin says in his biography. “It’s America’s only art form.”
Saxophonist Manning has made dozens of appearances and collaborations with other musicians such as the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet and with Swiss multi-instrumentalist Isla Eckinger, according to his biography. His key musical influences include John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Joe Henderson, Bobby Bradford, Sonny Rollins and North Indian classical flautist Pannalal Ghosh. He has played and recorded with a long list of famous and skilled musicians including those mentioned above plus Gary Foster, Horace Tapscott, Eric Reed, Albert “Tootie” Heath and others.
Pianist Saunders has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals and concert halls with distinguished artists including Freddie Hubbard, Carla Bley, David “Fathead” Newman, Barbara Morrison, Bobby Rodriguez, Gladys Knight, the Four Tops and many others.
He has directed music for opera productions and international musical theatre. As a composer, Saunders has numerous compositions to his credit as well as original scores for theatre, radio and multimedia production. He performed in Venice, Calif. with Franklin and other musicians through November and December.
Drummer Banda performed 24 years with the Grammy award-winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. He is a current band member with famed jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco. Banda grew up in Norwalk, Calif., part of a large musical family. He started out on the guitar but switched to drums in 1967. Banda and his electric bass-playing brother, Tony Banda, performed weekend gigs during their school years with several bands including with Poncho Sanchez. In 1996 he and Tony formed their own ensemble, The Banda Bros. Group, with Tony on upright bass. The duo has performed on numerous worldwide tours and with many famous acts. Over the past two decades, Ramon has performed on more than 22 recordings and recorded and played with such music greats as Dizzie Gillespie, Tito Puente, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, Diana Reeves and others.