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TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2014, Days 1-2

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Days 1-2 | Days 4-6 | Days 7- 9 Joey DeFrancesco Trio / Sun Rooms / Harris Eisenstadt Golden StateTD Ottawa Jazz Festival Ottawa, Canada June 20-July 1, 2014 Another year, another TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, except to say so would sound dismissive of a festival that, year after year--now, in 2014, in presenting its 34th edition--has managed to address the challenges of festival programming for a musical genre where the majority of the attendees is in the gray hair or no hair demographic. And it's not been without its detractors; ...

NEW YORK BEAT

Joey DeFrancesco at Birdland

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On the final night of January and the onset of Super Bowl weekend, Joey DeFrancesco brought his touring trio into Birdland celebrating his latest CD release for HighNote One For Rudy. With bandmates guitarist Paul Bollenback and drummer Carmen Intorre DeFrancesco lit up the room with his B3 and deftly moved to the trumpet and then to the piano--performance features he has included in his last several years. The album celebrates the organist's association with famed record producer Rudy Van Gelder who, DeFrancesco revealed in a brief backstage interview, was the engineer for his second Columbia album ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco: One for Rudy

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The “Rudy" singled out for favor on this new CD by organist Joey DeFrancesco's admirable trio is the legendary recording engineer Rudy van Gelder who engineered, mixed and mastered the album at his studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. DeFrancesco, whose mastery of the Hammond B3 is universally recognized and unquestioned, wrote the groovy homage to van Gelder that wraps up the album, elsewhere stepping aside to make room for such able tunesmiths as Miles Davis, Eddie Heywood, Gordon Jenkins, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and Hoagy Carmichael. Resting surely and snugly in the small-group format that suits him best, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco: Wonderful! Wonderful!

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B-3 specialist Joey DeFrancesco has enjoyed a long and successful Career; so long, that Wonderful! Wonderful! is DeFrancesco's tenth HighNote release. With Tony Monaco his only real “traditional" jazz organ peer, DeFrancesco pretty well has the market cornered for greasy chitlin' circuit funk jazz cum Italian-American savoir faire. Joined by legends, guitarist Larry Coryell and drummer Jimmy Cobb, DeFrancesco assembles a more than competent organ guitar trio, where the three's empathic understanding makes for a satisfying recital of original and standard material. DeFrancesco resurrects DeRose and Hill's “Wagon Wheels," from the 1934 Broadway musical, Ziegfeld Follies. Tenor ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco: Wonderful! Wonderful!

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The organ trio is one of the most time-tested aggregations in jazz, and the men who form said grouping on Wonderful! Wonderful! are three of the most treasured musicians to ever play their instruments. Organ giant Joey DeFrancesco, guitar hero Larry Coryell and swinging drum stalwart Jimmy Cobb all set the bar impossibly high on their respective axes and now, they're joining forces on the organist's tenth album for the HighNote label. This high profile threesome references everybody from saxophonist Sonny Rollins ("Wagon Wheels") and pop singer Johnny Mathis ("Wonderful! Wonderful!") to Duke Ellington ("Solitude"), putting its ...

THE MORT REPORT

Joey Defrancesco Projects Showed The Difference Between Music, And The Music "Business"

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This is the story of two collaborations with Joey DeFrancesco that you almost never saw--or the difference between music ... and the music “business." The first unreleased album I recorded with Joey DeFrancesco is now known as the Mort Weiss Quartet CD featuring Joey, Ron Eschete and Ramon Banda, followed by 2006's The B3 and Me. Both of them eventually appeared on my own SMS Jazz label, but more on that in a minute.The original title of the first album was Mort Weiss Meets Joey DeFrancesco, while the follow up was to have been The Joey ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco: 40

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With 40, Joey DeFrancesco--the world's foremost contemporary jazz organist--heralds his fortieth birthday by presiding over a trio session that is typically dexterous and engaging from start to finish. As good as it is, however, a DVD would be even more persuasive, as DeFrancesco's consummate mastery of his chosen instrument should really be seen as well as heard to be thoroughly appreciated. His right hand is so virtuosic that he seldom has need for the left, using it sparingly to append an obligatory chord every now and then. Seeing and hearing DeFrancesco perform is a remarkable experience, one not to be ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco / Robi Botos / Vito Rezza / Phil Dwyer: One Take: Volume Four

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On the fourth volume Alma Records' One Take series, everything heard on disc, as stated on the back cover, was was recorded during a single take with “no rehearsals, no overdubs, no edits--just raw, untouched and inspired performances."It is immediately clear that these sessions were quite informal. “How do you want to start this?" a voice asks, shortly before a ten-minute long rendition of “There is No Greater Love" where organist Joey DeFrancesco immediately takes the lead with his smart licks and fluid improvisational style. He is followed by tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer and pianist Robi Botos, who ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco / Robi Botos / Vito Rezza / Phil Dwyer: One Take, Volume Four

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In 2003, Toronto-based musician/producer Peter Cardinali birthed the idea of assembling a group of jazz musicians at the very top of their game and letting them jam in the studio--rolling the tape with no rehearsals, no overdubs and no edits--essentially recording their music in one take. One Take, Volume Four is the fourth album in a series featuring organist Joey DeFrancesco and drummer Vito Rezza--both members of the first One Take series--joined, this time, by pianist Robi Botos and tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer,veterans of the Volume Two recording.Like all seasoned jazz musicians, the quartet draws upon its vast ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco / Robi Botos / Vito Rezza / Phil Dwyer: One Take: Volume Four

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One of the great pleasures of jazz is entering a club to hear expert musicians come together and play impromptu, with no rehearsals. Such a situation is created in One Take, Volume Four. This is the fourth recording in the series to feature world acclaimed organist Joey DeFrancesco with three expert Canadian musicians; in this case, the seriously swinging tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer, very capable pianist Robi Botos (also doubling on Fender Rhodes), and drummer Vito Rezza, a dynamic catalyst. The sessions aren't planned--DeFrancesco can be heard shouting suggestions before a number and enthusiastically praising ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco: Never Can Say Goodbye: The Music of Michael Jackson

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Cross-pollinating jazz and pop does not always yield fruitful residuals--in many instances, it equates to an unbalanced succession of musical events. Here, however, Hammond-B3 titan Joey DeFrancesco renders a happy medium by jazzing up the songbook from the late pop icon Michael Jackson, with jazz, funk and rock stylizations, while retaining its inherent components. DeFrancesco and his band morph grooving jazz improvisation with Jackson's melodic hooks, yet neither genre dominates.DeFrancesco carves the classic soul-pop ballad, “Never Can Say Goodbye," with sleek undertones abetted by guitarist Paul Bollenback's slippery funk voicings. The organist succeeds at instilling a soulful element, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco: Joey D!

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Joey DeFrancesco, who has graduated from heir-apparent to undisputed king among contemporary jazz organists, is in his element here, presiding over a trio comprised of himself, undervalued tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon and reliable drummer Byron Landham. Rest assured DeFrancesco's nimble fingers are as virtuosic as ever, and there's no need to fret about the slender rhythm section, as DeFrancesco happily provides his own.

DeFrancesco is perfectly at ease and in control even though recording for the first time on a new Diversi DV-Duo Plus drawbar organ with “modified sound engine and modeling technology." It comes alive, as one would expect, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey DeFrancesco: Live: The Authorized Bootleg

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Organist Joey DeFrancesco deserves credit for showcasing some comparatively neglected voices on the music scene, like tenor saxophonist Houston Person and clarinetist Mort Weiss. George Coleman, the featured guest on this outing, came up playing alto (Lee Morgan, City Lights, Blue Note 1957), though he would soon shift exclusively to tenor while retaining much of the smaller horn's high-register emphasis. A recently-issued 1963 Miles Davis concert with Coleman (Live at Monterey, Concord 2007) is so spellbinding it might lead to questions about Davis' judgment in replacing him with Wayne Shorter. Shorter chose abstract musical paths and, later, fusion, while Coleman ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Joey DeFrancesco, Guido Basso, Lorne Lofsky, Vito Rezza: One Take, Volume One

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Joey DeFrancesco, Guido Basso, Lorne Lofsky, Vito Rezza One Take, Volume One Alma Records 2008

The beauty of jazz is that it is music containing the sound of surprise. Most jazz musicians only plan what they are going to play, not how they are going to play it. So it may be different each time it is played. Then there is the jazz jam, the descarga. Things heat up as the jam progresses. The group gets tighter and the music starts to flow, bubbling like a brook, tumbling like a waterfall, roaring like a ...



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