Derek Frank
Gig Seeker Pro

Derek Frank

Burbank, California, United States

Burbank, California, United States
Band Rock Jam


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Derek Frank live at Cafe Cordiale"

Zippy, fun and just the right amount of funk, Derek Frank’s
material is groovy, easy to listen to and catchy. Although almost all
instrumental, if you are looking for elevator music, you are looking in the
wrong direction. Captivating bridges with drum crescendos that will make
your head roll, this is music that you don’t want to miss. One song flows
as smooth as the next drawing the listener closer.

Frank makes his bass guitar sing in a myriad of ways:
from jazz and blues to rock and funk, he covers it all. His occassional funk
sound is, however, the key aspect to the overall feel and atmosphere
of his music. The horn section is excellent with their near perfect
timing and expertly aligned solos. The percussion is definitely on cue
with huge crashing crescendos. Mike Bennett, the man behind the
snare, never gets a chance to catch his breath.

There’s no slouching or resting on the job here, rather
quite the opposite. These guys just pumped out tune after tune and
worked every minute of the performance. The sweat poured out
and so did the music.

A horn section that makes you want to sing, percussion
that fills the air and a bass player who means business describes
Derek Frank and his band. Solid and funky, Frank’s music just makes
you feel like dancing. Almost entirely instrumental, his captivating songs
put him above the rest.
––Tom Laurie - Music Connection Magazine

"Derek Frank, Let The Games Begin []"

The trendsters say the ’80s are hot right now, but L.A. sideman vet Derek Frank is having none of that on his supergroovy debut album Let The Games Begin. Right from the bass-and-drums-only downbeat of disc opener “Breakout,” it’s an unapologetic, bass-drenched homage to everything cool about rhythm sections from the ’70s, and Frank’s ’63 P-Bass (strung with flats, of course) is the star of the show, in front of the mix and carving fiercely. Games isn’t stuck in that era’s rut, either; there’s just enough modernity sprinkled about to avoid easy caricature, and today’s thumb stylists will appreciate the Marcus-influenced slap-melody approach to the Hall & Oates classic “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” But make no mistake – this is mostly a smorgasbord of vintage keys, unison horn lines, and filter-soaked funky bass that’s designed to make the booty move while the disco ball spins. Somewhere, the Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai are nodding their heads in approval.
- Bass Player Magazine

"Derek Frank; Let the Games Begin (self-distributed)"

Bassist Derek Frank lays down nonstop funky grooves; The band is tight and so retro…. Frank has got the vibe – in spades!

- Vintage Guitar Magazine

"Review: Let the Games Begin… by Derek Frank"

Let the Games Begin… is one funky record! It sounds like it was fun to play this music and it’s definitely fun to listen to. It’s a playful, funky, groove-driven, mostly instrumental record that reminds me a little of those 70s jazz-funk records that recorded when the session superstars got together to have fun. Derek Frank is an in-demand bassist in Los Angeles where he’s played with the likes of Brian Auger and Jonatha Brooke alongside a large number of TV performances and sessions. He was also part of the band Upper Structure with Katisse Buckingham, whose impressive flute playing is well utilized on this record.

Let the Games Begin… features a combination of wah-wah guitar, soaring flute, tight grooving bass and drums, neat arrangements, washes of organ and some tasty soloing. It’s a mix of funky originals and bass-led instrumental covers of tunes by Hall and Oates, Soundgarden, Curtis Mayfield and even Sesame Street.

“Breakout” is a funky, bass-driven opener with Derek Frank’s Paul Jackson-inspired fingerstyle, lively drums with a bouncing snare, expansive flute and Rhodes and 70s cop-show horns. Frank plays some intensely funky bass under Katisse Buckingham’s lithe flute solo and funky Rhodes solo from Jeff Babko.

“Keep it Fresh” enters disco territory and features a sweet guitar solo from Brett Farkas and a seriously dirty effected bass solo played with what sounds like a mischievous glint in Frank’s eye. There’s a light, breezy rap, a gorgeous muted fingerstyle bass and a Sanborn-esque alto solo to round things off.

“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” is a greatly enjoyable bass cover. The cheesily-styled Hall and Oates wrote great songs, and Derek Franks does a great job with the melody rendering it thumb style, a la Marcus Miller. The tune escapes the 80s overproduction of the original to prove itself a masterpiece. There are some tight horns and gorgeous Wah Wah Watson style guitar. Frank’s phrasing of the melody carries us along with him throughout. Yarone Levy plays a short, spiky guitar solo before the slap bass feature played with style, panache and a lovely sense of dynamics and playful use of motifs. Tune!

The first of the short “Interludes” follows “Shake It (Don’t Break It)”, which is a short section of Brand New Heavies-inspired groove.

“Lunchbox” swiftly follows featuring an catchy ascending bass figure, swingbeat drums, darkly melodic guitar from Farkas and suspenseful electric piano from Rohde. It’s a tour de force for Donald Barrett on drums and Frank’s bass reminds of Paul Jackson again – no bad thing indeed! Farkas plays an acerbic guitar solo with a hint of mystery and funky use of space amid chordal melody phrases before Rohde romps at length over brooding bass and drums that sound like Barrett is having the most fun possible behind a kit.

“Pusherman” is the Curtis Mayfield classic and featured UK jazz-rock legend Brian Auger on Hammond organ whose band Frank has been part of for a while. All the 70s soul elements are here: the original’s spacious bass line, the driving soul drumbeat by the legendary Steve Ferrone, the organ washes and the insistent congas. Auger on organ and Levy on guitar take turns with the theme, Levy adopting a light chordal guitar sound. Auger solos playfully over a throbbing, pulsating rhythm section. Frank himself takes a tasty Willie Weeks-style bass solo that builds well – indeed the band’s performance is redolent of Donny Hathaway’s famous live recording.

“Smack Dab” is rather onomatopoeic and begins with a very different bass sound – most of the record has dark toned, fat bass and this features a 80s pop funk bass sound which makes for a neat contrast. It reminds me of the bass tone on Glide by Pleasure. The excellent rhythmic horn arrangement is a treat. Solos begin over a sparser rhythmic mood and Dan Boissy pays tribute to Grover Washington in a soulful tenor solo. It’s head-nod time as Frank grooves with a Meshell-style space-funk bassline with gorgeous sliding fills leading into a well constructed, witty bass solo with envelope filter.

Another short “Interlude: Trigger Happy” – a vamping snippet of groove leads into the classic Funky Drummer groove.

“Off The Top” with its jigsaw interlocking horn, guitar, bass and organ riffs. I’m just imaging how much fun this band must be live as a more open section introduces the Milesian wah-wahed trumpet of Larry Williams over a seriously funky 16th note bass followed by a swashing, swirling organ solo over an intense groove.

“Black Hole Sun” is a change of pace and a fabulous take on the Soundgarden classic. The opening creates a Siouxsie and the Banshees mood, and Frank plays the melody with an effected bass sound that takes the archetypical fretless ballad tone and makes something extreme and beautiful out of it. It’s a masterful take on the melody and it’s a feature for Frank’s sonic experimentation and freewheeling soloing as the bass tone takes on immense proportions. Frank’s soloing is intense over a fabulous backing of chiming guitar, solid drums and a strange chirping keyboard. There’s a Jan Hammer-like 9/8 synth solo section for Jeff Babko and a crunching guitar lead from Yogi. This is a track you’ll return to again and again.

“Pinball Number Count” was written for Sesame Street by Walt Kramer and was part of our generation’s funk indoctrination. Here, after the funky horn-driven melody, breathy tenor sax leaps all beboppish and blustery over a drum and bass texture with octave pedal bass, double time drums and washes of rhodes. Bluesy guitar solos soulfully; monstrous bass spurs Farkas on to climax his superb short solo before Barrett enjoys a rolling spotlight on the drums over underwater bass and guitar. The melody featuring between each solo in a great arrangement of the memorable theme. Classic!

“Postlude: Balance” is almost elevator-ish in contrast – like the chill out tune at the end of a night club set with Frank’s huge bass tone exploring the laid-back groove and making great use of the notes below the E.

Highly recommended to fans of funky music, this is a record that’s a real pleasure to listen to and hard to sit still to. The arrangements are great and if you like 70s funk music, this CD is for you. Derek Frank is a funky bass player with an endearing approach to his highly musical phrasing and this band is one who really know how to have fun. -

"Derek Frank "Let the Games Begin""

Derek Frank
"Let the Games Begin"

Derek Frank was the baddest bass player (bar none) in my high school. I haven't seen him in over a decade (or two?) and I'm happy to report.. he still is!

He's been keeping busy laying some very solid bass for many artists in the LA scene. A foundational player by nature, he's also got the grease and has some of the tastiest licks you're likely to hear in a while. Derek's playing is his own, but stylistically (and for your reference) I'd have to say that he is reminding me of Rocco or Bobby Vega with his finger style sound and groove. When he slaps, Reggie Hamilton comes to mind.. I'll let the comparisons stop there, tho because Derek very much has his own voice on the instrument.

He's just as solid as it gets! He makes a statement with every bass line but NEVER gets in the way of the music. This is primarily a harmonically sophisticated groove album (ala soul live or Lettuce). While primarily original material, the covers are awesome. The coolest version of "I Can't Go For That" that you're likely to ever hear and a version of "Pusherman" that would make Curtis Mayfield proud. I'm very excited for Derek with this release! He sounds absolutely wonderful and (judging from his band) he is keeping very good company in So. Cal. Greasy, grooving and tasty... Just how I like it (and you will too)!

"DEREK FRANK - Let The Games Begin"

Derek Frank is an up and coming bass player who hails from Cleveland, Ohio. Now, however, he works out of L.A. where he's quickly become and in-demand sideman – constantly busy working with artists as diverse as Todd Rundgren and Joe Sample. 'Let The Games Begin' is Derek's first solo album and it's clear where his musical sympathies lie. The LP's main musical thrust will recall vintage Tower Of Power (Frank uses a tight seven-piece brass section) while his own playing has the strength and distinctiveness of Marcus Miller. Miller, realized, early in his career that a solo set led by a bassist is a difficult project to carry off. He succeeded through the inventiveness of his own playing and by ensuring real variety in the material. Here Derek Frank does much the same thing – offering a dozen cuts of which eight are originals and four covers; between them, though, there's enough variety to ensure focus throughout. Of the originals the opener, 'Keep It Fresh', is particularly strong with the duelling between drummer Donald Barrett and the bass lines a highlight. 'Lunchbox' offers more of the same while 'Smack Dab' is another very tight groove. It's on this one that the brass section really shines. For variety, 'Keep It Fresh' is a rap featuring Kosha Dillz (great horns here too) while 'Postlude, Balance' is a gentle affair that might recall John Klemmer. Then the covers. Frank has made an eclectic choice – Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' and Sesame Street's 'Pinball Number Count' for starters. The former is slow and moody and the latter, well, surprising. That leaves the two outstanding cuts. First, a take on Hall and Oates' 'I Can't Go For That'. It a great take on a great tune – with Derek's bass taking the lead melody line against a swinging brass section. Then, there's a truly energized version of Curtis Mayfield's 'Pusherman'… a tune that lends itself perfectly to the Derek Frank treatment. Brian Auger guests on Hammond and he really makes it feel that time has stood still and we're back in the days of real music. That one cut alone is well worth investigating and you can do just that at
(BB) 3/5


Derek Frank - Let the Games Begin...



The Artist:

Bass player Derek Frank’s affinity for all that is low and funky has recently manifested itself in the release of his long-awaited debut album, “Let the Games Begin…”. This mostly instrumental, bass-heavy funk record projects a sound and vibe that is old and familiar, yet somehow new and unique at the same time. Armed with his flatwound-equipped ’63 Fender Precision Bass (and a few other choice 4 and 5-stringed instruments), Derek takes us on a journey to the groovy side with music that rings of influences such as Curtis Mayfield, Jamiroquai, Pleasure, Groove Collective, The Brand New Heavies, Tower of Power, Marcus Miller, and many others that listeners will simply have to name for themselves. Of the twelve tracks on the album, eight were penned by DF; the remaining four are his instrumental arrangements of covers by the likes of Hall and Oates, Soundgarden, Curtis Mayfield, and even something from early episodes of Sesame Street.

Derek’s album comes to fruition after years of his being a “bass player for hire” on the Los Angeles music scene… spending time on the road and in the studio with all kinds of artists and bands, playing all kinds of music. At some point in every working musicians career, he decides that it’s finally time to start creating and playing the music that he hears in his head, with people that he feels best interpret those particular sounds, drawing on that which has influenced his musical being since its inception. For Derek, that time is now. On this album, DF has enlisted some of LA’s funkiest players, including special guests such as Hammond B-3 organ legend Brian Auger, veteran drummer Steve Ferrone, and up-and-coming hip-hop artist Kosha Dillz. “Let the Games Begin…” is an apt title to kick off this new phase in Derek Frank’s musical life. Look for Derek in the not-too-distant future as he leads his 7-piece horn-injected old-school funk band to stages throughout the world.

The Sideman:

Derek Frank’s journey as a professional bass player began around the age of 15 in Cleveland, Ohio, where, while attending high school, he earned invaluable experience (and a few extra bucks) by playing in jazz clubs and for local musical theater productions. Early formal training at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, along with 4 years in the University of Miami’s music program helped him further develop his skills as a musician. Starting at the age of 17, Derek gained some more “real world” experience by playing on cruise ships, which is how he spent his summer vacations following his senior year of high school throughout his senior year of college. Upon finishing up his 4 years in Miami, and after a brief stint in Boston, Derek loaded his basses into his car and drove to Los Angeles, where he has been living and playing for the last several years.

Since his arrival in LA, Derek has constantly kept himself busy in the city’s thriving music scene. Over the years, he’s enjoyed balancing his time between touring, studio work, local gigs, and the occasional TV show or music video, with a variety of artists in a variety of musical styles. Derek prides himself on being a “musical chameleon” of sorts, able to fit comfortably into any musical situation. Always stylistically authentic, his bass lines ring with passion, conviction, taste, and groove. Citing main bass influences such as James Jamerson, Pino Palladino, Stevie Wonder, Marcus Miller, Anthony Jackson, Rocco Prestia, Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, and Jaco Pastorius, Derek has lent his low-end prowess to an eclectic collection of artists, across the board of musical genres.

Touring credits include: Hammond B-3 organ legend and Acid-Jazz pioneer Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express (2002-present), teen pop sensations Aly & AJ (2006-2008), and the "Dancing With the Stars” tours, a live arena show spun off from the hit ABC television series (2007-2009). Other live performance credits, including television performances, include: Siedah Garrett, Lari White, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Paige, Alejandra Guzman, Bonnie McKee, and Rachel Yamagata. Recording credits include: artists such as Jonatha Brooke, MoZella, and Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, producers such as Todd Rundgren, Neal Avron, and Greg Poree, and sessions alongside such legendary musicians as Vinnie Colaiuta and Joe Sample (click here to view a complete discography). Derek’s bass lines have also been heard on several TV shows and commercial jingles.

Currently, Derek is in LA promoting his debut solo album “Let the Games Begin…” an instrumental funk record that brings together musical influences such as Curtis Mayfield, Jamiroquai, Pleasure, Groove Collective, The Brand New Heavies, Tower of Power, Marcus Miller, etc. Derek is trying to fit in as much playing with his own band as he can, while balancing tours with various artists and keeping himself busy with performances and recording sessions as a freelance musician. Another new band, “Wonk”, wh