Instrument: Saxophone | AMT Products Used: LS
“Everyone really digs the sound of the mic. Both of Mike Stern’s audio engineers and every other engineer I encounter is thrilled with the naturalness of the sound. I much prefer it over any other microphone I’ve tried. Dave Weckl mixed the the new Mike Stern Live in Paris DVD and he loves the sound of the tenor with the AMT LS.”
– Bob Franceschini
Tenor saxophone, also soprano, alto and baritone. C flute, alto flute in G and ethnic flutes. Clarinet, bass clarinet. Percussion. Keyboards, midi sequencing. Composer, arranger, producer and contractor. Education: Long Island University (Brooklyn campus), High school of Music and Art (NY)
A Native New Yorker, born in 1961 to Puerto Rican parents, Bob attended public schools in upper Manhattan in Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights. He began his musical education on piano at age five and picked up the saxophone in Junior High at age 11. He was a member of the Manhattan Borowide Band and City-wide High School Band as well as playing in and arranging tunes for an R&B, Funk and Latin band put together by MartyKirschenbaum, one of his Junior High music instructors. In 1975 a successfulaudition allowed him to enter the High School of Music and Art, where his classmates and bandmates included such now renown musicians as bassist/composer/producer Marcus Miller, drummers Kenny Washington, and Omar Hakim.
One of his first professional gigs just after graduating in 1978 was a summer long engagement at a Harlem club called the “Breezin’ Lounge” owned by guitarist/singer George Benson and run by his former manager, Jimmy Boyd. The band was formed basically to backup Benson when he came to town and then became the nucleus of the band for trumpeter Tom Browne (Bob recorded on the “Jamaica Funk” album certified gold) signed at the time with GRP/Arista Records. The band also featured Marcus Miller on bass, Omar Hakim on drums, guitarist Bobby Broom and keyboardist Bernard Wright. Touring with Browne lead to further opportunities such as a world tour with R&B diva Chaka Khan and a bunch of R&B and funk recording dates, and a lot of gigs with such musicians as Eddie Palmieri, Kenny Kirkland, Roland Vasquez, Michel Camilo, Jorge Dalto, Barry Rogers, Woody Shaw, Mike Lawrence, Steve Ferrone, and Anthony Jackson to name just a few. In 1986 Bob began touring and recording with Salsa great Willie Colon. Being in this group gave him the chance to dig in on his Puerto Rican roots and develop his playing and arranging skill in this rhythmically profound idiom. He became musical director of the band as well as co-producer of several albums. He was still playing Jazz, Funk and Fusion with different groups and formed an original band he called “Destroy All Monsters” whose members included bassist Darryl Jones, trumpeter/ vocalist Mark Ledford, keyboardist Jim Beard, and others. Also around this time he recorded with Victor Bailey, Hilton Ruiz, Renee Rosnes, Chris Botti, Bobby Broom, Marcus Miller, Dave Weckl, and Buddy Williams just to pick out a few. A major world tour in 1992 with latin pop star Emmanuel teamed him up with trumpeter Barry Danielian and trombonist Ozzie Melendez. They formed a successful horn section sometimes called the “911 Horns”.
They appear on many popular R&B pop/jazz and Latin recordings, as well as playing on a number of jingles and film scores together. Another collaboration of note around this time was a critically acclaimed quartet recording and tour with bassist/composer Anthony Cox “A Factor of Faces”, which also included pianist Mike Cain and drummer Ralph Peterson. In 1994 Bob joined a cooperative band, “Seis del Solar”, the once back up band for singer/actor/politician, Ruben Blades, they recorded an album for Messidor Records“Alternate Routes” and went on to tour the States, Europe, Latin America and most notably Cuba.
This band also did many workshops and clinics, stateside and abroad and went on to become the musical backbone of Paul Simons’ project the Broadway show “Capeman” in 1998 for which he got to co-write some material with Mr. Simon.
Around this time Bob recorded on many albums with such artists as Celine Dion, Patty Austin, Bebe Winans, Joe Pesci, Tito Puente “100th Album” (Grammy winner), Robby Rosa, Michael McDonald, Steve Khan, Bakithi Kumalo, Sergio George, Paul Simon, Ruben Blades, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Marc Anthony, Isaac Delgado and many others, as well as gigs and tours with Ricky Martin, Lionel Ritchie, Chico O’Farrill, Eddie Palmieri and Willie Colon with Ruben Blades. In 1998 and 99 he was featured every week on saxes, flute and clarinets in the score music for H.B.O.’s hit show “Sex and the City”, music by Doug Cuomo, which are now in syndication worldwide.
In 1999 a critically acclaimed recording and short world tour with percussionist Ralphy Irizarry’s group “Timbalaye” featured his playing and composing. In the last seven years Bob also participated in concerts and recordings with the Umbigada Band, led by his wife, vocalist/composer Antonella Dini. In ’99 Bob also wrote a few national jingles around this time for MCI World Com and JC Penneys.
In 1999 Bob was asked to join guitarist Mike Stern (formerly with Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Dave Sanborn, ) in his quartet for a world tour, taking the place of previous saxophonists Michael Brecker, Bob Berg, Bob Sheppard and Bobby Malach. The band also featured bassistLincoln Goines and drummer Dennis Chambers and sometimes drummers Richie Morales or Ben Perowsky. They completed a World Tour in 2000, that began in Europe and continued on to Japan, Australia, the U.S., Israel, Scandinavia and South America.
In 2001 Bob went out for another round with Stern as well as being featured on Mike Stern’s Grammy Nominated record called “Voices”, along with drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dennis Chambers and bassists Lincoln Goines, Chris Minh Doky and Richard Bona. Highlights in 2001 included Mike Stern concerts featuring bassist John Pattitucci and a tour with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Tour destinations included Russia, and a Japan, China, and of course lots of Europe and the U.S.
In 2002 Bob travelled with Stern to Japan, Chile, Brazil, Panama, Mexico, and the West Coast which featured Victor Wooten on bass. They also performed in Europe, and Israel. In 2002 Bob worked notably with Jennifer Lopez on some national and international TV appearances. He also toured briefly with Michel Camilo.
2003 and 2004 there was further touring and recording with Mike Stern (“These Times”). Mike added bassist and vocalist Richard Bona and Dave Weckl on drums as touring members, as well as some touring with Alain Caron as bassist. He is also participating as a founding member of a new orchestra created at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in NY. It is called the Lincoln Center Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. The Group is headed by Arturo O’Farrill and features well established Latin Jazz performers. Bob has had an original suite approved for performance with the Orchestra next year. He was also featured on a new recording by Cuban Arranger, Pianist Bebo Valdez (father of Chucho Valdez) as well as a new recording for arranger Marty Sheller, and a new album by “Timbalaye”, (featuring two of his compositions).
There was also a tour with the Dave Weckl band to Europe and Russia as well as a Japanese tour with Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez/Robby Ameen Band. He also participated as a guest soloist with Ray Mantilla’s New Space Station and Antonello Parisi’s “South Vertigo Band” at some festivals in Italy. Bob is preparing for an album of his own to be recorded next year as well. The CD (working title: “Trancendence Project”) will feature top name international Jazz and Classical musicians performing his original compositions as well as some of his arrangements for octet of Modern Classical Masterpieces. He is also working on several other exciting projects of his own with some fantastic musicians.
He has been teaching saxophone, improvisation and arranging, and participating in workshops and master classes around the world, most recently in Brazil, California, Japan. In Chile and Costa Rica, Panama and the Canary Islands workshops were done in Spanish which he speaks fluently. He also speaks Italian pretty well. Bob is an Official Yamaha Performing Artist, VIP Artist with Emagic as well as a Silver Artist with Vandoren Reeds. He is also keeping busy and inspired with his four year old son, Lucas and wife Antonella and new born daughter Jaya.