Joey De Francesco: Goodfellas
(Whistling "Speak Softly Love") Recognize that tune? Of course you do! It’s the theme from "The Godfather" Okay- so maybe this type of intro doesn’t work so well in print. But one thing which does work is this album! No plaintive strings or weeping accordion. No way. This is Jazz. Jazz that swings like DiMaggio and pops like a Tommy gun. Capiche?
Combining the formidable Hammond chops (did someone say "chops"?) of Mr. DeFrancesco with the scatty strums of Frank Vignola and the brushy rhtyhms of his recurrent band mate Joe Ascione (who also wrote all of the non-cover tunes on the album), "Goodfellas" is a family album with plenty to go around. The tortolini-ed trio’s turn on "Volare" is beyond lounge and their burbly Basie-based "Fly Me To The Moon" is stellar. Other covers include a lush romantic twirl through Sammy Cahn’s "All The Way," a tender "Young At Heart" and a sleepy "O Solo Mio" that would make Luciano sweat out a dance. Joe sets the beat for a surfy rhumba of "Malafemmena" while his paisanos pitch in with churning strings and stuttering keys. Joey even takes a shot at Monk’s "Evidence." In an effort to give the drummer some, Ascione is given the role of capo for his arpeggiated explanation "Ya See What I’m Sayin’?" and his reprised swinger "Whack ŒEm" (paired the second time around with thte traditional "Tarantella"). However, like any good family, his boys are never far behind.
So don’t be a wiseguy. Go hear the Goodfellas. It’s an album you can’t re- nevermind!