Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

165

Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith: Legacy

By

Sign in to view read count
There have been many great practitioners of the Hammond organ in jazz history, including Shirley Scott, Groove Holmes, Charles Earland, and Larry Young. Today, Dan Wall and Larry Goldings have helped bring the organ back to the forefront. But perhaps no one can claim the overall impact of the late Jimmy Smith. His harmonic conception and technical prowess are now legendary. Spanning four decades of jazz history, Smith helped define the organ and guitar tradition with folks like Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, and George Benson.

Joey DeFrancesco, the organ prodigy who met Smith as a child, and whose father, Papa John, is quite an organist himself, is a very unique player with a deep affinity for Smith. DeFrancesco's ability to encapsulate the sounds of the past with today's knowledge of scales and modality is unsurpassed. His influence on the current state of the organ continues to burgeon. Smith recorded only twice with another organist, both times with DeFrancesco; Incredible recorded live in 1999, and this disc, Legacy. Unfortunately, Smith passed away just as the tour for this recording was set to begin.

Although DeFrancesco's playing on the electric piano and other keyboards is fine, the disc's high points come when mentor and protege both sit down at the Hammond. "Dot Com Blues" illustrates this well. A simple mid-tempo swing format showcases the instrument's inherent strengths while allowing for a contrast in solo styles. "I'll Close My Eyes" gives each an opportunity to express his thoughts on a ballad. Smith opens with a clever rhythmic embellishment, a pattern he builds and stretches in to a beautifully expressive dialogue. DeFrancesco follows with some burning 16th note melodic runs, using the whole board in spectacular fashion. Smith then takes us home, referring back to the opening comments, inspired no doubt by his young friend.

"Back in The Chicken Shack," a blues tune Smith wrote for the 1960 album of the same title, adds a Latin element with congas and timbales. The added percussion gives the tune a nice change from a traditional swing format, Ramon Banda and Jose "Joey" DeLeon trading solo passages as well. Smith and DeFrancesco continue their own conversation, alternating solos with the kind of pyrotechnics that only this kind of pairing creates. "I've Got My Mojo Workin'" is portrayed in a funky '70s scheme, to which Smith adds his version of vocals. His uninhibited interpretation is a vote of confidence to all us "shower singers." Paul Bollenback's wah wah and Mel Brown's bass lines color things perfectly.

On "Jones'n for Elvin," stalwart veteran James Moody provides a wonderful solo and Byron Landham, Francesco's regular drummer, gives his version of Elvin's unmistakable triplet feel, a suitable tribute to another fallen master. Finally, "Blues for Bobby C" features the two organs with Banda on drums, proffering interplay and passion that is better left to the ears than this pen.

DeFrancesco wrote this in the liner notes for the CD: "To the master, Jimmy Smith—One of the greatest and most innovative musicians of all time." Enough said!

Visit Joey DeFrancesco on the web.

Track Listing: 1)Legacy 2)Dot Com Blues 3)I'll Close My Eyes 4)Back at the Chicken Shack 5)Jones'n For Elvin 6)Off the Top 7)Corcovado (Quiet Nights) 8)I've Got My Mojo Workin' 9)St. Thomas 10)Blues for Bobby C. 11)Midnight Special

Personnel: Joey DeFrancesco--Organ Jimmy Smith--Organ James Moody--Tenor Saxophone

Title: Legacy | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Some Other Time/Slow Café" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time/Slow Café
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 28, 2017
Read "Far From Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far From Over
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Tensegridad" CD/LP/Track Review Tensegridad
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by John Sharpe
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Easy Living" CD/LP/Track Review Easy Living
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "The Study of Touch" CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017