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Joey DeFrancesco: Ballads And Blues (2002)

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Joey DeFrancesco’s organ trio has been together for twelve years already. And what a solid unit they’ve become. Byron Landham and Paul Bollenback make soulful music when they’re working alongside DeFrancesco and his timeless repertoire. This time out, he’s included several familiar classics, a few originals, and some in-betweens. Guests Pat Martino, Gary Bartz, Papa John and brother John DeFrancesco turn cameo appearances into gala celebrations. It’s a winning formula.

”Home on the Range” begins in a solemn, straightforward manner. What are these guys trying to pull? Are they on vacation or something? Way out West? Bollenback is doing western harmonica on his guitar. Landham is doing the horse’s gallop. DeFrancesco is playing the familiar melody. Then, in a moment, we learn what’s in store with his nearly 8-minute jam on this familiar tune. The trio has arrived. It seems that they can take any tune and turn it into a soulful jam. The guitarist is swinging every which way but loose, while the drummer is steering. Then, the organist turns up the heat even higher. Eventually, on cue, the trio brings it back to Nature.

On “Jammin’ in the Basement,” the DeFrancesco family proves that they take to the blues naturally. Over a walking bass line and perky backbeat, each of the three dives in with that oozing feeling. It’s contagious. Ballads “Ceora,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and “That’s All” settle in gracefully. DeFrancesco delivers a tasteful vocal on the latter. The blues make more sense. DeFrancesco’s trio provides its most inspired performance on “Basin Street Blues.”

Track Listing: Get It All; These Are Soulful Days; Take the Coltrane; You Don

Personnel: Joey DeFrancesco- organ, vocal on

Record Label: Concord Music Group

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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