Gordon Franks was born on the 24th of August in Durban, South Africa. Inspired by his mum Eunice, the young Gordon expressed a deep passion for the guitar from the age of seven, and the rest became history. At an early age he stunned a full audience at his debut performance in a School Concert. This is perhaps where Gordon acquired his motivation to enthral crowds. From those early years, it was evident that it was his ambition to become a self taught expert, as he persevered long hours in mastering the guitar.
Whilst his early years in life were difficult and continuously striving to make ends meet, Gordon juggled three after-school day jobs. Returning home late from work Gordon would confine himself to his room and practice. He reminisces that, “painful lessons in life cannot be ignored, but serves as a reminder for me to appreciate the goods things of life so that I don’t take anything for granted”. His mum was his biggest fan as she sat in awe, watching him practice note for note. As time passed by Gordon gradually developed a passion for jazz music.
Franks was gradually exposed to George Benson who made a HUGE impact on is life. This marked a turning point in his life. George Benson became his focused interest and inspired by the Genius, Franks expressed a voracious appetite for jazz. Confining himself to purposely mastering his skills, his tireless practice sessions resulted in stylistic exercises of creativity forming his own identity in music. Without a formal music education, he enhanced his knowledge by listening to records and tapes of his jazz influences to sharpen his skills. Whilst still in his teens, Franks transformed into an accomplished guitarist.
Gordon appeared on the same stage with artists like Jonathan Butler, Felicia Marion, Richard Jon Smith, Lionel Peterson and The Rockets. His whole world changed when his mother gave him a George Benson Ibanez GB 10 Signature guitar. To date the guitar still remains the most prised possession in his life as he consistently pays tribute to George Benson for the impact he has made on his life. Sticking to the crisp, emotionally explosive sound he creates with his treasured guitar, Franks has carved his name in the music industry.
In 1985 at the Durban Expo, the young guitarist reached unstoppable heights as a progressive jazz guitarist. In 1986, Gordon moved to Johannesburg, playing with established musicians like Johnny Fourie, Joe Moretti, Philip Thabani, Ray Phiri, Bheki Khosa, Sipho Gumede, Sipho “Hotsticks” Mabuse. In 1990 he returned to Durban withdrawing from public performances to pursue a solo career. Following a Capital Radio interview, Gordon left South Africa to study jazz guitar in the United States. Pat Martino and Jimmy Bruno helped shape his techniques even further.
Returning to South Africa, Franks became an active educator engaging both in private and free community lessons. To this day he still partners in various fundraising projects for the Cancer Association, Hospice, Cheshire Homes, ABH, APD, Rotary, Boys Town or SANCA etc. Looking back, Franks has performed to more than 3 million people collectively at Charity Fairs, Concerts, Television & Radio and Corporate and Private functions. Interviews with Radio Metro, Kaya FM, P4 Radio, East Coast Radio and Lotus FM also secured him more national exposure.
Gordon Franks then produced his debut CD “Frankly Speaking”. The album embodied all the finest elements of music with the incorporating his influences of contemporary jazz. The album showcased a fresh mix of irresistible tracks filled with smooth jazz changes, lyrical content and sweeping melodies.
Subsequently Franks established his own record label “Jo-Pearl Music Inc”, to retain copyrights for his compositions, productions, recordings, performances and to also have full artistic control over his works.
Franks pushes really hard to identify himself with the demands he expects of himself. The Sunday Tribune has quoted him by saying, “Gordon Franks is one of the best local talents South Africa can export as international treasure”.
Gordon Franks continues to grow endlessly as a musician and an enterprising entertainer ensuring his musical talents are aired all over the globally. The Sunday Times also noted, “Gordon Franks is always seeking new musical directions, adding more pages to his musical history as a renowned artist. His dazzling performances are taking him in the direction of promising possibilities ahead.”
A great artist is not recognised by the amount of fans he possesses but the ability to reach out to those that cannot reach him.
Welcome to the World of Gordon Franks.