Michael Franks has released countless albums in his long career. A selection of short reviews can be found here.
Tiger in the Rain (1979)
“Tiger in the Rain” from 1979 was Michael Franks first album that he recorded without the production team of Tommy LiPuma, Al Schmitt and Lee Hershberg. Supported by players such as Ron Carter, Bucky Pizzarelli, Kenny Barron, Mike Mainieri and Flora Purim, Franks created with “Tiger” a more natural follow-up to “Sleeping Gypsy”. Still worth listening!
One Bad Habit (1980)
During his long career Michael Franks created a unique and successful mixture of smooth jazz with bossa nova accents, soft pop and sophisticated lyrics. “One Bad Habit” from 1980 is another masterpiece by the Californian singer and songwriter that finally established him on FM radio stations. On this record you can find wonderful songs like the opener “Baseball” or the breezy “On My Way Home To You”. An outstanding highlight is the gentle Tahitian fantasy ” Lotus Blossom”. Michael Frank’s 6th album is a very recommendable record from his rich oeuvre.
Objects Of Desire (1982)
In 1982 singer-songwriter Michael Franks tried to create with “Objects Of Desire” not less than a musical portrait of the painter Paul Gauguin. The result was a sophisticated jazz-pop album, that stood in the tradition of his album “Tiger In The Rain” from 1979. Produced by Ray Bardani and Michael Colina, Franks realized his musical ideas with support of studio-pros and stars as Michael and Randy Brecker, David Sanborn, Larry Carlton as well as Bonnie Raitt and Luther Vandross. The song material reflects one more time Franks’ fondness for uncertain love enmeshments. Highlights are, amongst others, the slight funky opening track “Jealousy”, “Laughing Gas” and the wistful Caribbean fantasy “Tahitian Moon”. “Objects Of Desire” is a well-crafted album. It’s time to rediscover it!
Passion Fruit (1983)
In 1983 Michael Franks released his 8th album “Passion Fruit” and reached finally his commercial peak. The whole album is another great example for Frank’s mastership in creating quiet tension from beginning to end. From the jazzy funkiness of “When Sly Calls (Don’t Touch That Phone)” to the sophisticated Bossa Nova seduction of “Tell Me All About It” up to the smooth majesty of “Rainy Night In Tokyo” convinced “Passion Fruit” with great songwriting and performance. Franks owed the dreamy elegance not at least to the musicianship of contributors as Astrud Gilberto, Randy Brecker, Hamish Stuart and Toots Thielemans. Michael Frank’s “Passion Fruit” is a highly recommended smooth masterpiece.
Cool School – Interview with Leo Sidran about Michael Franks
With his album “Cool School”, the multi-talented musician, producer, arranger, composer and artist Leo Sidran released a musical bow to the oeuvre of Michael Franks in 2018. I talked with Sidran about his album, his passion for Michael Franks and the art of song writing and recording.