STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Getting Organized with Joey Defrancesco


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This week, let's check out some clips of organist Joey DeFrancesco, who's returning to St. Louis this coming week to perform Wednesday, March 31 through Saturday, April 4 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Considered by many to be the heir to the legendary Jimmy Smith, DeFrancesco is the son of jazz organist “Papa" John DeFrancesco and grew up near Philadelphia, attending the same high school as bassist Christian McBride. DeFrancesco began sitting in on his dad's gigs while still in grade school, and got his big break - a chance to perform and record with Miles Davis - when he was just 17.

He toured Europe and recorded the album Amandla with Davis, then went on to play with guitarist John McLaughlin, Pat Martino and others. These days, DeFrancesco works tirelessly as leader of his own bands, but he did take some time off recently to back up saxophonist and former St. Louisan David Sanborn on a tour supporting Sanborn's latest CD.

Today's four videos show Joey D tackling four well-known tunes, starting with the standard “Fly Me To The Moon" in the first slot up above. Down below, it's “Just In Time," followed by Wes Montgomery's “Four On Six" and Thelonious Monk's “Evidence." All four amply demonstrate DeFrancesco's mastery of classic jazz organ techniques ranging from swinging bass lines to timely, seamlessly exectured registration changes.

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