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Joey DeFrancesco: Goodfellas

Jim Santella By

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When you spend your youth growing up in South Philadelphia, the music of Frank Sinatra and the earlier music that influenced him has to have a major lasting impact on you. The timeless nature of standards such as "Young At Heart," "Fly Me to the Moon" and "All The Way" cannot be ignored. Other significant crooners such as Perry Como, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett have extended the feelings we harbor that these songs will live forever. For his latest album, 28-year-old organist Joey DeFrancesco adds in a little ethnic Italian folk scenery and some Godfather movie theme spice to these standards. The result is an enjoyable trio session that pays its respects to the tradition while folding in a mainstream jazz background.

The trio’s best example of mixing the cauldron thoroughly is "O Solo Mio" with its ride cymbal and walking bass. Guitar and organ sound off effectively; the arrangement even includes a Basie ending. DeFrancesco’s Hammond B-3 is particularly hot on "Fly Me to the Moon," as the unit improvises on a familiar theme. Similarly, Frank Vignola swings heartily on most tracks; he’s particularly effective on the blues-based "Whack ‘em." Joe Ascione takes his share of fours and extended solos; the drummer’s steady driving force is particularly notable on "Malafemmena" with its hefty modified New Orleans shuffle beat. The title track is a tribute to another Philadelphia "godfather" – organist Jimmy Smith. One of DeFrancesco’s mentors and a favorite driving force all over the world, Smith has a way with the blues that won’t quit. The trio captures this mood quite well, swings with passion throughout the session, and does a bang-up job of bringin’ home the good-natured fun.


Track Listing: Speak Softly Love; Volar

Personnel: Joey DeFrancesco- Hammond B-3 organ; Frank Vignola- guitar; Joe Ascione- drums.

Title: Goodfellas | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


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