Joey DeFrancesco (photo: Michael Woodall)

Joey DeFrancsco - Gone way too soon. (Photo: Michael Woodall).

John McLaughlin, Elvin Jones, Joey DeFrancesco – Live In France – 1996 – Past Daily Downbeat Tribute Edition (Joey DeFrancesco – 1971-2022).

Joey DeFrancesco (photo: Michael Woodall)
Joey DeFrancsco – Gone way too soon. (Photo: Michael Woodall).

John McLaughlin, Elvin Jones, Joey DeFrancesco – live at Juan les Pins – June 25, 1996 – Radio France

Memorable concerts and tributes this week. The sadly missed Joey Francesco, along with John McLaughlin and Elvin Jones in concert at Juan les Pins Jazz Festival and captured for posterity by Radio France Musique on June 25, 1996.

Joey DeFrancesco was indeed a bright light on the Jazz horizon. With an impressive list of collaborations as well as a 30 album discography, he was a much needed breath of fresh air and widely respected artist of many talents.

In addition to some 30 albums under his own name, he recorded extensively as a sideman with such leading jazz performers as trumpeter Miles Davis, saxophonist Houston Person, and guitarist John McLaughlin. DeFrancesco signed his first record deal at the age of 16 and over the years recorded and toured internationally with David Sanborn, Arturo Sandoval, Larry Coryell, Frank Wess, Benny Golson, James Moody, Steve Gadd, Danny Gatton, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Cobb, George Benson, Pat Martino, Tony Monaco, John Scofield, Lee Ritenour, Joe Lovano, and had prominent session work with a variety of musicians, including Ray Charles, Bette Midler, Janis Siegel, Diana Krall, Jimmy Smith, and Van Morrison.

DeFrancesco was 16 years old when he signed an exclusive recording contract with Columbia Records. The following year he released his first record, titled All of Me. His performance on All of Me has been attributed as helping bring back the organ to jazz music during the 1980s. That same year, DeFrancesco joined Miles Davis and his band on a five-week concert tour in Europe. He followed up with playing keyboard on Davis’ album Amandla, which reached No. 1 on the Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in 1989. DeFrancesco started playing the trumpet around the same time, inspired by the sound of Davis. DeFrancesco was originally spotted by Davis during a performance on the television show called Time Out. He was performing on the set along with high school classmate Christian McBride when Davis asked the show’s host, “what’s your organ player’s name”, referring to DeFrancesco. DeFrancesco’s recording deal with Columbia included the release of 5 albums. In addition to All of Me, he released Where Were You in 1990, Part III in 1991, Reboppin in 1992, and Live at the 5 Spot in 1993.

DeFrancesco’s music style was referred to as a swinging Philly sound which he “embellished with his own ferocity and improvisation.” He played 200-plus nights a year throughout the course of his career, a feat that he cut back on as of 2013. He received numerous accolades for his performances, including being called the best B3 player on the planet by JazzTimes. The New York Times described DeFrancesco as a “deeply authoritative musician, a master of rhythmic pocket, and of the custom of stomping bass lines beneath chords and riffs.” Chicago Tribune praised the musicianship of DeFrancesco, stating that “He dominated the instrument and the field as no one of his generation has.” DeFrancesco was also involved in musical instrument development, especially product designs and endorsements related to technological advancements in digital keyboards and electronic organ both in the United States and internationally.

Sadly, Joey DeFrancesco passed away at his home in Phoenix on the 25th of August. A heart attack was the cause.

And now we’re left with a legacy. And in tribute here is one of the many collaborations he did with John McLaughlin and Elvin Jones from 1996.

Enjoy and give thanks for his brief stay on this planet.

Many thanks to Wikipedia for the bio materials (as always).

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