204

Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith: Legacy

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith: Legacy When Joey DeFrancesco—a key player in the late-'80s Hammond B-3 organ revival while still in his teens—teamed up with organ legend Jimmy Smith in August of 2004, little did either know that Smith would pass away a scant six months later. If Smith was ailing, one would never know it from the result of those sessions. Legacy fulfills the promise indicated by Smith's sitting in at a 1999 concert that would ultimately be released by DeFrancesco as Incredible. With a fair bit of studio chatter at the beginning and ending of tracks, it sounds like both were having a terrific time.

With a core quartet that features guitarist Paul Bollenback and drummer Byron Landham, both members of DeFrancesco's regular working trio, the emphasis is on groove and blues. Even the opening title track—with its electric sitar, gongs, and "ghost zither—is, at the end of the day, a blues, albeit one with a subcontinental harmonic sensibility and a touch of modalism. A variety of guests flesh out the base quartet, including the Banda brothers, bassist Tony and percussionist Ramon, and another septuagenarian, James Moody, on tenor on DeFrancesco's swinging "Jones'n for Elvin.

The set combines classic Smith titles—"Back at the Chicken Shack, "Midnight Special, and "Got My Mojo Workin', which, while not a Smith composition, is one he covered—with a couple of standards, including Jobim's "Corcovado and Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas, as well as new compositions by both Smith and DeFrancesco. But the writing is almost secondary to the loose and playful approach of everyone involved, more a means to an end than an end in itself.

Of the two players, DeFrancesco clearly has the broader reach. He's got a more developed harmonic sensibility, as evidenced by his piano solo on the title track; he's also a cleaner player with inarguably better chops. Still, it's not all about technique, and when Smith takes the spotlight, there's something indefinably more potent about his musical choices. Perhaps it has to do with the difference between playing the blues and living them. DeFrancesco plays like he knows it; Smith plays like he means it.

That's not a slight to either—the fact that DeFrancesco is unquestionably the more capable player, but Smith the more evocative is simply indicative of the difference between someone still in his mid-30s with a greater set of interests, and someone who, in his 70s, spent a lifetime honing a specific set of skills. Still, sparks fly between the two, but in a good-natured, well-meaning kind of way that has nothing to do with competition and everything to do with egging each other on to greater heights.

Legacy is fitting as Smith's last recording, representing something of a mantle-passing work. Whether or not DeFrancesco, a player with his own reputation, goes on to forge a style as innovative as Smith's has yet to be determined.

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 The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Polygon" CD/LP/Track Review Polygon
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Equal Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Equal Crossing
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Luz de Luna" CD/LP/Track Review Luz de Luna
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Ripple" CD/LP/Track Review Ripple
by Bob Kenselaar
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Earprint" CD/LP/Track Review Earprint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 14, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.