Aug 26, 2022
After the deaths earlier this week of legendary producer-record label impresario Creed Taylor and brilliant young trumpeter jaimie branch, the jazz world had another shock on Friday, when the news spread that legendary organist Joe DeFrancesco had died suddenly at the age of 51. No cause of death was immediately released.
I had the pleasure to see Joey D several times, and to have two podcast interviews with him (Podcasts 666 and 846). first fell in love with the music of Joey DeFrancesco twenty years ago, when I booked him on an epic Organ Summit triple bill with the late Charles Earland and recently departed Dr. Lonnie Smith for the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz. What an evening that was! Significantly younger than the other greats sharing the stage that night, he more than held his own, and seemed as excited as any fan in attendance to be part of a very special event.
During his thirty plus years as a performer, he went from part of the Philly music scene that included Christian McBride and Kurt Rosenwinkel to playing with everyone from Miles Davis and John McLaughlin to Van Morrison and the Count Basie Orchestra. He matched musical wits with the great Jimmy Smith, and in his most recent recordings, sought to stretch his sound by working with Pharoah Sanders. A well written obit for Joey D can be found here.
Podcast 932 honors the music Joey DeFrancesco made during his too-short life, including some of my favorite tracks. It ends with the last track he recorded on his last album, More Music with the appropriate title of "Soul Dancing":
Joey DeFrancesco - "Cherokee" from Authorized Bootleg
Miles Davis - "Intruder" from Live Around the World
Joey DeFrancesco - "Blue 'N Boogie from The Philadelphia Connection
Grover Washington Jr - "Keep in Touch" from Strawberry Moon
Joey DeFrancesco and Bobby Hutcherson - "Speak Low" from Organic Vibes
Joey DeFrancesco - "Vibrations in Blue" from In the Key of the Universe
John McLaughlin - "Tones for Elvin Jones" from After the Rain
Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith - "Dot Com Blues" from Legacy
Christian McBride Big Band - "Pie Blues" from For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver
Joey DeFrancesco - "Soul Dancing" from More Music