Rodney Franklin – Biography



Two-time Grammy Nominee

Rodney Franklin, recipient of the NAACP Jubilee Award for Best Jazz Artist and nominated for the Prestigious Image Award for Best Jazz recording, has performed at Carnegie Hall, recorded the theme for television’s “Hill Street Blues”, and has had a #1 hit among his many accomplishments. He has performed with a long list of greats from Miles Davis to Stevie Wonder, but credits meeting the famed jazz pianist Oscar Peterson at the age of 6 as a defining moment in his musical life, introducing him to the world of musical improvisation. Followed shortly thereafter by an introduction to Duke Ellington, the young Rodney Franklin was well on his way toward his life’s work- bringing people around the world together and building community through the universal language of music in an all-inclusive, non-denominational, multi-cultural and multi-generational exploration of humanities’ similarities and commonalities.

Educated in the traditions of jazz and classical music

Franklin’s string of accomplishments began early. By the age of sixteen he had placed first in more than 70 piano competitions, earning accolades and distinguished honors such as the Edward Kennedy-Duke Ellington Award and Contemporary Keyboard Magazine’s Piano Award. And at age nineteen Rodney was signed as a solo recording artist for CBS Records- the youngest jazz pianist at that time. By 1981, he had played Carnegie Hall and achieved international popularity with the number one hit, “The Groove”, and to date has recorded fifteen of his own albums and has performed on countless recordings with other world class artists.

Rodney Franklin Today

Franklin recently participated in the book of American Musical Keyboard Masters, “Down the Rhodes”. This historic book and the accompanying documentary film are a tribute to the classic Fender Rhodes piano, the most successful electric piano of all time. He is joined in this venture by such greats as George Duke, Patrice Rushen, Marcus Miller, George Benson, Bob James, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, among others.

Currently, Rodney Franklin is engaged in a year-long 2015 series of musical and spoken word celebrations commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King’s message of peace and the 50th Anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March, Bloody Sunday, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Featuring Rodney Franklin and Bettie Mae Fikes, the “Voice of Selma” and acclaimed blues singer, the events musically weave the tapestry of the Civil Rights Movement with the Freedom Songs and personal stories, intertwining music and spoken word interpretation of Dr. King’s message and how they are relevant to current world events and turbulent times of today’s Human Rights Movement.