Album:Rodney Franklin/You'll Never Know
He probably didn't know it at the time but pianist Rodney Franklin turned out to be one of the pioneers of what is now called Smooth Jazz. He had chart success especially on the R & B charts with The Groove in 1980. He was born Sept. 15, 1958 in Berkeley, CA. Franklin was a child prodigy on the piano. As a teen, he toured with John Handy, Bill Summers, Freddie Hubbard and Marlena Shaw. Then he signed with Columbia and his debut album In The Center was released in 1978. He worked with Los Angeles session musicians like Dennis Budimir, Victor Feldman, Jeff Porcaro, Chuck Domanico, Paulinho Da Costa, Ernie Watts and Jerry Hey and Seawind. Freddie Hubbard made a guest appearance. For Franklin's second album You'll Never Know, Brit Paul Buckmaster was brought in to give Franklin a more commercial sound. Buckmaster did string arrangements on early Elton John albums. The Groove caught on with R & B DJs and it was a surprise hit on the R & B and dance charts. Musicians were Dean Holzkamp on flute and sax, Harold Foreman on bass, Tony St. James on drums, Kenneth Nash on percussion and Brooks Hunnicutt, Lisa Roberts and Phyllis St. James on background vocals. Apparently The Groove launched the dance craze The Freeze. I'm sure at the time music fans thought The Groove was a Ramsey Lewis record. For his third album Rodney Franklin, Franklin recorded with the same LA musicians he worked with on his first album. Franklin continued to have modest success on the R & B and jazz charts. The British label SuperBird has released Rodney Franklin and You'll Never Know as a twofer. Franklin recorded eight albums for Columbia and then two albums for RCA's Novus label. Franklin still does concerts and he recently appeared in a doc about the history of the Fender Rhodes keyboard Down The Rhodes. He just hasn't recorded in recent years. Here's a video for The Groove by Rodney Franklin.