AAJ: Is that why you stopped making records for almost ten years until a couple of years ago?
FK: No. I didn't publish anything for those years because I was spending most of that time on various spiritual retreats, in South Asia and elsewhere, meditating and studying. I had made a decision that the most important thing I could do was go as deep as I could into the feeling of this music. That naturally led me to trying to be honest with myself about the things that were holding me back.
I identified that as my 'self' [laughs] so I made a conscious effort to address that as directly as I could. I was still involved with music when I wasn't on retreat, but trying to get records out and be part of the business was not my focus. I realized that life was short and I'd better follow where my inquiry was leading now if I was real about where the music needed to go. I really wanted to go further, [laughs] and wherever that took me I had to go.
AAJ: Back in the present Franklin, is this band a working band and are you focused on getting gigs?
FK: Yes, absolutely. It's our wish and our intention that we're out there as much as possible playing for the people that can benefit from what we are doing. It's at the beginning of the process of reaching people with this music. The goal in all of this is to go play for the people we're reaching. All of us are really looking forward to that and how the music will inevitably grow from performance to performance.
AAJ: The very best of luck with this endeavor. Franklin, where do you see your music going from here?
FK: I see it going further, [laughs]. I'm looking forward to playing with this group and doing subsequent recordings. There are other formats I want to explore as well. Right now, I am hopeful that this record will contribute to an increased awareness of what we're doing. The main thing is taking this band on the road and the beauty of that is that each time we play the music will evolve. Each time we play it'll be a happening.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.