STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Six from Joey Defrancesco


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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 leader was back in March 2010, when he played the Bistro with his trio.

The son and grandson of professional musicians, DeFrancesco, 41, grew up near Philadelphia and got his his first big break - a chance to perform and record with Miles Davis - when he was just 17. He's gone on to play with Sanborn, guitarists John McLaughlin and Pat Martino, and numerous others as well as touring and recording frequently with his own group.

DeFrancesco was featured in this space a couple of years ago before his last gig at the Bistro, so for this post we'll concentrate on showing some performances recorded since that visit. The first clip up above features DeFrancesco, drummer Jeremy Thomas and guitarist Steve Cotter playing Ray Charles' “I Got A Woman" in August of this year at Dazzle nightclub in Denver.

Down below, in a clip recorded just a few days later at the Oakville Jazz Festival in Canada, you can hear DeFrancesco play the head and solo on an excerpt of “Wonderful, Wonderful," which is the title track of his most recent album, released earlier this year.

Next, Michael Jackson's “Billie Jean" gets re-imagined with a swing rhythm in a clip recorded in 2011 at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia. Below that, you can see DeFrancesco in a more informal setting, playing an up-tempo blues to demonstrate some new gear at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in 2011.

In the fifth clip, recorded in March of this year at the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, DeFrancesco pulls out his other instrument, the trumpet - something he does at regular intervals, though not necessarily every single night - for a rendition of “Old Folks."

The sixth and final clip takes DeFrancesco out of his usual trio setting for a gig with Miles Smiles, a Miles Davis tribute project that performed some dates this past summer in Europe. This version of Davis' “All Blues" was recorded in July 2012 at the San Sebastián jazz festival in Donosti, Spain. In addition to DeFrancesco, it features Wallace Roney (trumpet), Rick Margitza (tenor sax), Robben Ford (guitar), Darryl Jones (bass), and Omar Hakim (drums). DeFrancesco's solo starts at around 7:20.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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