Frankie “The Funkmaster” Redding Jr., a longtime powerhouse from Portland’s blues and R&B music scene, is being remembered after his death on Sept. 22 from complications of diabetes.
Redding was born into a musical family in Portland on Oct. 29, 1946. His parents, Frankie Redding Sr. and Maidie L. Horn, and two sisters, Corine Scarborough and Lorraine Danlie (all deceased) were from the Choctaw Indian Reservation in Aberdeen, Miss. when they moved to Oregon the same year.
Redding got his early start in music at home trying to imitate his sister Lorraine on piano; she later taught him how to play. He also had an interest in playing alto and tenor saxophones in school and in his early bands, but later switched to the B3 organ and keyboard as his chosen instruments.
He started as a professional musician at just 15 years old at Portland’s Original Cotton Club when he was still attending Jefferson High School, sitting in on the B-3 organ for the dynamic Billy Larkin. During his life he performed with national acts like Tyrone Davis, Etta James and Terry Evans to name a few. He also played with many regional acts: The Royallaires, Wine, Vanilla Manila, City Lights, The Arnold Brothers, The Staple Brothers, The Norman Sylvester Band, Richard Day Reynolds and more.
Frankie leaves behind his life partner, Susan Lee; stepdaughter Anna Thompson (Sean); stepson Clint Lee; granddaughter Kalie “JJ” King; nieces Ruby L. Allen and Ahndraya Andrews; nephew Jeffrey Andrews; and his great grandchildren, great nephews and great nieces. Along with his joy of music, Frankie loved collecting movies and vintage action figures. He was known for his keen sense of fashion and had a smile and laugh that would light up the room! He is loved by his family, friends and fans that will miss him terribly.
He will be honored with a Musical Celebration of Life open to the public on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Spare Room Lounge, 4830 N.E. 42nd Ave.