165

Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith: Legacy

By

Sign in to view read count
Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith: Legacy 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: Legacy; Dot Com Blues; I'll Close My Eyes; Back At The Chicken Shack; Jones'n For Elvin; Off The Top; Corcovado (Quiet Nights); I've Got My Mojo Workin' ; St. Thomas; Blues For Bobby C.; Midnight Special

Personnel: Byron Landham, Drums, Gong; Edmund O'Reilly,Zither; James Moody, Tenor Sax; Jimmy Smith, Hammond Organ & Vocals; Joey Defrancesco, Electric Piano, Keyboards & Hammond Organ; Jose 'Joey' De Leon, Conga, Shakere; Mel Brown, Electric Bass; Paul Bollenback, Guitar, Electric Sitar; Ramon Banda, Percussion, Timbales; Raul Yaez, Piano; Steve Ferrone, Drums; Tom Cerino, Gong; Tony Banda, Acoustic Bass

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" CD/LP/Track Review Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Fellowship" CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Of The Night" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Night
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Alto Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Manhattan
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Hearts & Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Hearts & Minds
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "A Night Walking Through Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 11, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!