Artists Worth Checking Out: Michael Franks gets everyone into a true Spring State of Mind

Born September 18, 1944, Michael Franks has collaborated with many big names in the world of smooth jazz.  Most notably, he has worked alongside the likes of Brenda Russell, Patti Austin, and David Sanborn.

Within a few years after graduating from USC in 1966 and two years later at the University of Oregon with a Master’s Degree–he produced a pair of albums between 1973 and the first dabbling into Brazilian jazz in 1977 under the Warner Brothers’ album title, Sleeping Gypsy.

However, it was not until 1983 with a tropical title that his career really took off, and this is my choice for Album of the Week:


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Plenty of instrumental jazz and some guest vocals from the likes of Astrud Gilberto and Kenny Rankin add that special blend of true jazz fusion.

The third track, “Amazon” and the ninth track, “When Sly Calls (Don’t Touch That Phone)” were his really big hits.  Also worth checking out mainly to children of the 1970’s and 1980’s was the Atari minded video game song title on Track 4, “Now That Your Joystick’s Broke” along with “Rainy Night in Tokyo” on Track 7.

And yes, his career is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.  Over a dozen albums later, he definitely earns a special place in the annals of great smooth and Brazilian jazz artists of the 20th century.

Next week, I will try to dig deep enough to find a motherly type of artist just in time for Mother’s Day.  Hopefully, the search will turn into gold.

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