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Joey DeFrancesco

Joey DeFrancesco’s emergence in the 1980s marked the onset of a musical renaissance. Organ jazz had been a form of music that literally went into hibernation from the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties largely because of the introduction of high-tech, light-weight keyboards. It was Joey, however, that ignited the flame once again with the sound of his vintage Hammond organ and Leslie tone cabinet.

He not only illuminated this once dormant music form but brought back the many proponents of jazz organ who had been shuffled by record producers and club owners to lesser roles within the music industry. Befriending and supporting those who preceded him, Joey became the new-age proponent of an instrument that had been pushed aside in favor of the growing technology. Considered a child prodigy, Joey remembers as far back as age four, playing jazz tunes modeled by his father, Papa John DeFrancesco and memorizing music from the many jazz albums in their home. Papa John, a jazz organist himself, took young Joey under his wing and nurtured his rapidly developing skills, bringing Joey along with him to gigs, Joey would sit-in with as many seasoned Philadelphia musicians who were around.

Legendary players like tenor saxophonist, Hank Mobley, or drummer, Philly Joe Jones, would soon become aware of young Joey DeFrancesco and acknowledge his enthusiasm. Joey’s grandfather and namesake, Joseph DeFrancesco, was the patriarch and, himself, a musician’s musician; able to pick up a new instrument and teach himself to play. This gift was passed down to young Joey and now manifests itself in Joey’s extraordinary keyboard skills; piano playing; and organ wizardry - not to mention his undeniable mastery of the trumpet. Joey’s desire to play the trumpet began after touring with the great Miles Davis.

An interesting encounter would introduce the two; Miles was a guest on a Philadelphia television program where Joey was a band member. Instead of critiquing the featured high school trumpet players, Miles inquired about the organ player and quickly gathered Joey’s contact information. Joey would soon become one of the two youngest musicians ever to be asked by Miles to join the band (the other being Tony Williams). Years later, it would be Joey who would be complimenting his own jazz organ performances with exciting bursts of trumpet tones in the notably influenced style of former employer, Miles Davis. Initially,

Joey signed an exclusive recording contract with Columbia Records that resulted in and a series of well-received albums and CDs that lifted Joey’s reputation and stardom higher and higher. The roster of world-class musicians with whom Joey would play and record with amazed the music world. The phenomenon, known as Joey DeFrancesco, soon became a household name in the jazz world as he began to tour internationally with his own quartet and eventually trim his group to a trio that boasted the guitar work of Paul Bollenback and drumming of Byron ‘Wookie’ Landrum. This trio would become the longest running organ trio in modern times. The list of established musicians who felt inspired to perform with Joey grew.

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5
Album Review

Summer Camargo: To Whom I Love

Read "To Whom I Love" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


Trumpet artist Summer Camargo startled the music and entertainment worlds when, as a brilliant 22-year-old Juilliard grad, she landed the highly-desired trumpet chair in the Saturday Night Live band. Camargo now adds to her lengthy list of achievements with her debut album, To Whom I Love. She and a cadre of New York all-stars deliver nine varied tracks (seven Camargo originals and two jazz workhorses) on which she and her colleagues shine. “JP Shuffle," upbeat and catchy, ...

5
Album Review

Jack Jones Featuring Joey DeFrancesco: ArtWork

Read "ArtWork" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


"Those who know, know" happens to be a soon-to-be-overused phrase to describe the hip, the “In," and “the very elite of aware." Now in his Mid-80s, Jack Jones has maintained a stellar, cross-media career, all on a foundation of a once-in-a-lifetime voice. Mel Torme, one not easily prone to hyperbole, called Jones, “the best pure singer in the business." Torme and others in the Vocal Pantheon knew. With ArtWork, Jones joins forces with the late multi-instrumentalist and ...

31
Album Review

Jack Jones Featuring Joey DeFrancesco: ArtWork

Read "ArtWork" reviewed by Jack Bowers


If a singer's reputation is so impressive that he or she is able to enlist a full orchestra (with bassist John Clayton conducting) and the late organ maestro Joey DeFrancesco as featured soloist, that is certainly enough to warrant attention. The singer in this instance is two-time Grammy winner Jack Jones, the orchestra an assemblage of some of the Los Angeles area's finest musicians, enlarged by a thirty-member string section. On one hand, Jones remains a smooth ...

27
Album Review

George Freeman: The Good Life

Read "The Good Life" reviewed by Jack Bowers


For guitarist George Freeman, The Good Life has also been a long life. He was a nimble-fingered ninety-five-year-old plectrist when this splendid album was recorded in May and June 2022, which makes it all the more grievous to know it would be organ maestro Joey DeFrancesco's last recording date; he died of a heart attack some three months later at the relatively young age of fifty-one. Freeman leads two trios here, the first with DeFrancesco on organ ...

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Radio & Podcasts

Joey DeFrancesco, Jaimie Branch & Natalia M. King

Read "Joey DeFrancesco, Jaimie Branch & Natalia M. King" reviewed by Joe Dimino


We start the 768th Episode of Neon Jazz with the explosive jazz and blues singer Natalia M. King. She was born in Brooklyn and came into her own in France. She is a force and following her, we dig into another musician that left the states for France in Sidney Bechet. There is a new trove of good modern music from Carole Nelson, Oscar Peñas and Billy Drummond. Last week was a tough one for the world of jazz as ...

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Radio & Podcasts

Celebrating Monnette Sudler, Jaimie Branch, Joey DeFrancesco & Creed Taylor

Read "Celebrating Monnette Sudler, Jaimie Branch, Joey DeFrancesco & Creed Taylor" reviewed by David Brown


A difficult week for the music. Celebrating guitarist Monnette Sudler, producer Creed Taylor, trumpeter Jaimie Branch, and organist Joey DeFrancesco all of whom we lost this week. Plus, birthday tributes to Lester Young, Sonny Sharrock, Alice Coltrane and more. h3>Playlist Thelonious Monk “Esistrophy (Theme)" from Live at the It Club-Complete (Columbia) 00:30 Lester Young with Count Basie and His Orchestra “Boogie Woogie" from The President Meets the Count (Epic ) 02:30 Monnette Sudler Quartet/Quintet “Let Us Love" from ...

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Interview

My Conversation with Joey DeFrancesco

Read "My Conversation with Joey DeFrancesco" reviewed by AAJ Staff


From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in February 2000. Whatever can be said of Joey De Francesco, there is no denying his impact on his fans, many of whom lined up for hours at a local hole in the wall in my hometown of Fullerton to see the organ player on a Friday night. So for the benefit of those fans, I present unto you, the primetime organist of his generation, unedited ...

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Performance / Tour

Popular Virtual Music Series 'Live From Van Gelder Studio' Announces Second Show And Stellar Line-Up Featuring Joey DeFrancesco & All-Star Band On May 15-16!

Popular Virtual Music Series 'Live From Van Gelder Studio' Announces Second Show And Stellar Line-Up Featuring Joey DeFrancesco & All-Star Band On May 15-16!

Source: Scott Thompson Public Relations

The legendary Van Gelder Studio, the recording studio home to hundreds of jazz icons from John Coltrane to Herbie Hancock today announced the lineup and date for its second virtual music concert. Live from Van Gelder Studio will take place on May 15th at 9PM EDT with live re-streams on May 16th at 8:00 pm JST for Asian markets and 8:00 pm CEST for European markets. All events will stream directly from VanGelder.live. Tickets can be purchased from the site ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz this week: Joey DeFrancesco, George Benson, Denise Thimes, and more

Jazz this week: Joey DeFrancesco, George Benson, Denise Thimes, and more

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

As the not-for-profit presenting season and the spring academic semester both approach their ends, this week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis nevertheless features performances from two major touring headliners, plus a number of other noteworthy shows. Let's go to the highlights... Wednesday, May 10 Organist Joey DeFrancesco returns to Jazz at the Bistro for the first of four nights, continuing through Saturday. DeFrancesco recently expanded his band from a trio to a quartet, and has ...

Video / DVD

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Spotlight on Joey DeFrancesco

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Spotlight on Joey DeFrancesco

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on organist Joey DeFrancesco, who's returning to St. Louis to perform Wednesday, May 10 through Saturday, May 13 at Jazz at the Bistro. Back here for the first time since playing in December 2014 at the Bistro, DeFrancesco on this visit is supporting a new recording, Project Freedom, released in March by Mack Avenue Records. The album marks the addition of saxophonist Troy Roberts to DeFrancesco's band, which already included drummer Jason Brown and ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz This Week: Roscoe Mitchell and Craig Taborn, Joey Defrancesco Trio, Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O, and More

Jazz This Week: Roscoe Mitchell and Craig Taborn, Joey Defrancesco Trio, Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

As 2014 marches inexorably toward its conclusion, it's shaping up to be  another busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis. This week's noteworthy performances include a visit from one of the top jazz organists in the business; the long-awaited return of a major jazz innovator, in duo with one of today's most in-demand keyboardists; plus a whole lot of holiday-themed jazz, and more. Let's go to the highlights.... Tonight, organist Joey DeFrancesco and his trio return to ...

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Recording

Joey DeFrancesco Releases 2-CD Christmas album "Home for the Holidays"

Joey DeFrancesco Releases 2-CD Christmas album "Home for the Holidays"

Source: Michael Ricci

The Hammond organ may just be the musical instrument best suited to Christmas and holiday themed music. It produces a gloriously warm, rich and full-bodied sound, the aural equivalent of a hug from Santa Claus. Place that instrument in the hands of a genuine virtuoso along with a carefully chosen selection of favorite holiday songs and Christmas carols and you have the recipe for an instant classic of a Christmas album. Home for the Holidays is a double album, a ...

1

Performance / Tour

Joey DeFrancesco Plays Jimmy Smith's Authentic Organ At The Philadelphia Clef Club Of Jazz

Joey DeFrancesco Plays Jimmy Smith's Authentic Organ At The Philadelphia Clef Club Of Jazz

Source: Vena Jefferson

The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz on the Avenue of the Arts is back and bigger and better than ever for Spring/Summer 2014 with Two Amazing Summer Concert Performances with Bernard Purdie and Joey DeFrancesco. Philadelphia, PA: PCC of Jazz is revving up for the 2014 Spring/Summer Season with two incredible concert performances featuring First, Bernard Purdie,world-renown drummer and one of the most influential musicians and bandleaders of our time will play a special two-night engagement and a one-day drum ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz This Week: Joey Defrancesco, Dan Thomas, Harry Miller, Montez Coleman, Genesis Jazz Project, and More

Jazz This Week: Joey Defrancesco, Dan Thomas, Harry Miller, Montez Coleman, Genesis Jazz Project, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week's lineup of jazz and creative music performances in St. Louis is headed by organist Joey DeFrancesco (pictured), who this evening will open a four-night gig continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. DeFrancesco, considered by many to be the reigning champ of the blues-drenched jazz organ style pioneered by the late Jimmy Smith, has played in St. Louis numerous times in recent years, and thus likely needs no further introduction to most local jazz fans. That said, ...

Video / DVD

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Six from Joey Defrancesco

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Six from Joey Defrancesco

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

Today, we're checking in once again with organist Joey DeFrancesco, who will be back in St. Louis to perform Wednesday, November 14 through Saturday, November 17 at Jazz at the Bistro. At this point, most St. Louis jazz fans likely are familiar with DeFrancesco, who's played here numerous times over the years, most recently in August 2011 as part of an extended tour backing David Sanborn. His more recent local gig as a ...

Recording

Joey Defrancesco, Larry Coryell and Jimmy Cobb Release Wonderful! Wonderful! On Highnote Records.

Joey Defrancesco, Larry Coryell and Jimmy Cobb Release Wonderful! Wonderful! On Highnote Records.

Source: Two for the Show Media

Joey DeFrancesco has come a long way from All of Me, his recording debut as a leader made in 1989 as a fresh-faced 17-year-old. From the get-go, the Philadelphia native established his credentials with virtuoso technique and an innate soulfulness that he brought to bear on the Hammond B-3 organ. Throughout his early career, Joey was widely recognized as spearheading a renewed interested in the Hammond organ, and building a bridge from the instrument's golden period of the 1960s and ...

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Recording

Cinque, Featuring Joey Defrancesco and Steve Gadd - Catch a Corner (2011)

Cinque, Featuring Joey Defrancesco and Steve Gadd - Catch a Corner (2011)

Source: Something Else!

The trio of respected Canadian sidemen who complete the Cinque band, though nowhere near as famous as Joey DeFrancesco and Steve Gadd, end up providing the structure and verve for this celebration of good-time soul jazz. You'll come in listening for the familiar rhythms of Cinque's celebrated organist and drummer, but go away deeply impressed with Peter Cardinali, John Johnson and Robi Botos. They don't just hold their own; they help define Catch a Corner. DeFrancesco, of course, has carried ...

" He has dominated the instrument and the field as no one of his generation has.” –Chicago Tribune

“Mr. DeFrancesco is a deeply authoritative musician, a master of rhythmic pocket, and of the custom of stomping bass lines beneath chords and riffs.”  —New York Times 

 

“…ranging from sublime to positively pyrotechnic… the best B3 player on the planet” - Jazz Times “Mr. DeFrancesco is a deeply authoritative musician, a master of rhythmic pocket, and of the custom of stomping bass lines beneath chords and riffs.” - New York Times “no organist today plays with the skill, harmonic depth, and authority of this phenomenon from Philly.” -Jazz Police

Jimmy Smith
organ, Hammond B3
John Coltrane
saxophone
Miles Davis
trumpet
Steve Hall
multi-instrumentalist
Brian Ho
organ, Hammond B3
Phil Wilkinson
organ, Hammond B3
Ramon Climent
organ, Hammond B3
Music Soup
band / ensemble / orchestra
Herb Caruso
vocals

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

To Whom I Love

Blue Engine Records
2024

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The Good Life

HighNote Records
2023

buy

ArtWork

Cavalry Productions
2023

buy

Without You, No Me

BCM&D Records
2021

buy

More Music

Mack Avenue
2021

buy

MONK'estra Plays John...

Mack Avenue Records
2020

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Videos

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