“I’ve always been drawn to passionate spiritual music. I feel so fortunate when I find musicians who are also motivated by a similar experience. Azar, Benito, Juini and I come together because of our faith in music as a spiritual practice – a vehicle for opening up the heart.
We recorded this music over a couple of days in March, 2013 at a studio on an island off the west-coast of Norway. Aside from some themes and directions, we spoke little about the music. That’s how this music works best – without much of a box. The musicians themselves are the compositional elements. The songs – just themes – are like prayers or invocations.
It’s my fervent wish that you experience the love, faith and freedom we feel making this music for you.” FK
Here’s what Michael Cuscuan, co-producer of FURTHER, has to say about the album: “The language created by John Coltrane with works like Sun Ship and Meditations, and by Pharoah Sanders with albums like Karma, opened an avenue that proved popular and innovative in the late ’60s and early ’70s, but few chose to expand upon that language until Franklin settled in New York City in the 1990s and recorded Solomon’s Daughter with Mr. Sanders on tenor sax. Franklin has steadily built upon that foundation and this latest chapter in his musical step is a breakthrough. With this project, he is building a body of work that is wide-ranging, with a singularity of purpose and an ensemble with which he can tour.”
Here’s a little about the other musicians in the group:
Azar Lawrence– When asked why he brought the 19-year-old saxophonist into his band, McCoy Tyner replied that he thought Azar felt the same way about the music that John Coltrane did. Elvin Jones said that he thought Azar had the “same kind of energy” that Coltrane had and that’s what Elvin needed. When Miles Davis asked Azar to join his band in the mid-70’s, he said he had not heard tenor saxophone played like that since Coltrane was with him. Azar has also worked with Woody Shaw, Ike & Tina Turner, War, Roberta Flack, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire, Boston, Frank Zappa, Busta Rhymes and many others. His recordings as a leader are highly praised.
Benito Gonzalez is one of the most highly regarded pianists in modern creative music. What sets him apart is the power of his conviction and the depth of his soul. He has shared the stage with Curtis Fuller, Pharaoh Sanders, Bobby Hutcherson, Christian McBride, Ignacio Berroa, Roy Hargrove, Steve Turre, Hamiet Bluiett, Antonio Sanchez, Victor Bailey, Al Foster, Nicholas Payton, Jackie Mclean and many others. For the past six years, he has toured the world as a member of saxophonist Kenny Garrett’s band. In 2005 he was the winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition.
Juini Booth, bassist supreme, has been the driving force propelling some of the most important creative music of the past 40 years. He is best known for his performances and recordings with McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Coleman Hawkins, Erroll Garner, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Shelly Manne, Tony Williams’ Lifetime, Larry Young, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and many others.