Riverside’s Mission Inn Closes Down Lounge Act: Long time performer Henry “Skipper” Franklin looks for a new gig
Bassist extraordinaire Henry “Skipper” Franklin has been performing five nights a week at Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside for very close to ten years. He has used a variety of pianists over the time, keeping the mix well stirred.
Of great pianists working in the business, Gary Matsumoto comes from a fine educational background and some terrific jazz experiences, and has worked with the “Skipper” for about the last three years, mostly Saturday nights. They recently also produced a trio CD, titled Days Ahead, with drummer Tony Austin, which is getting a good amount of air play on jazz stations.
Each Christmas holiday the Mission Inn has a spectacular display of lights. This particular night, there were literally thousands of people coming around, walking through the hotel to see the lights and also hear the jazz and Christmas music of the Franklin duo. The Presidential Lounge has an exclusive ambience. Outside in the foyer, there are several paintings of Presidents, all looking representative in their own time periods.
Franklin and Matsumoto are a perfect match as Franklin lays down the melodic lines along with Matsumoto’s generous harmonics beside his gracious melodies. There are many capabilities with intonation, bass slides and chords in Franklin’s remarkable soloing. The comping Matsumoto achieves in his piano voicings is superb. Every time they play, they fill the room quickly and draw the crowd in.
Franklin announced some bad news however, letting people know that for economic reasons Mission Inn was ending their long job December 31st. We fans hope they will change their decision for the future in 2009.
[Source: L.A. Jazz Scene]