Drummer/composer Franklin Kiermyer first came to prominence following the release of Solomon's Daughter, his highly acclaimed third album that features John Coltrane alumnus Pharoah Sanders on saxophone. Widely regarded for his intense passionate energy, spiritual feeling and distinctive sound, his nine albums and many performances have brought his music international recognition.
His latest album: FURTHER (Mobility Music MM20130), co-produced by him & Michael Cuscuna, features his present quartet of Azar Lawrence - saxophone, Benito Gonzalez - piano + Juini Booth - bass.
Franklin was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. His grandfather, a great Charleston and Jitterbug dancer well known on the local scene, gave him his first drum when he was 8 years old. His father loved New Orleans and Swing music, especially Big Bands. Franklin spent many hours listening to these records, from Kid Ory and Fats Waller to Count Basie and Duke Ellington. He was especially drawn to drummers with a big round beat like Sid Catlett, Baby Dodds, Minor Hall and Gene Krupa. He was also moved by the passionate chanting during Saturday morning services in his local Synagogue.
His professional career started at supper clubs and private parties with his high school music teacher. During this period, Franklin was introduced to both Vajrayana Buddhist meditation and the music of the John Coltrane Quartet of the mid-sixties. These inspirations had an immediate and profound impact that would intensify over the years.
Montreal of the 70’s was an important part of the East-Coast Jazz scene, so Franklin had many opportunities to hear and watch legends like Dexter Gordon, Charles Mingus, Philly Joe Jones, Count Basie, Art Blakey, Duke Ellington, Elvin Jones and many others.
Sitting in at prominent jazz venues including Rockhead's Paradise and playing frequently with local legends like Billy Robinson and Ivan Symonds nurtured his experience. Nonetheless, jazz gigs were scarce, so after leaving music college at eighteen, Kiermyer started to take road trips with U.S. Rhythm & Blues bands. Most of the next few years were spent traveling up and down the East Coast with a few sojourns west and south and off to Europe. All the while, every available moment was spent developing his playing and writing.
In his mid-twenties, Franklin began to bring together the best players he could to perform and record his own music. At age 26, he moved to New York City, where he was based for most of the next twenty years. As his music evolved, he had increasing opportunities to connect with his audience through performances and recordings. Although many experiences were rewarding, he knew he hadn’t yet manifested what he was truly meant to do. Overcoming what was holding it back became the path. Naturally, he began to spend more of his time meditating. By his late thirties, Kiermyer was spending increasingly longer periods on spiritual retreat, mainly in India and Nepal.