Joey DeFrancesco, Organ
Organist Joey DeFrancesco is regarded
by organ aficionados as the baddest B-3 burner in the
business (a claim supported by his four consecutive DownBeat
Critics Poll awards for 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005).
An important force in the revival of
the Hammond B-3 organ as a jazz instrument during the
'90s, Joey DeFrancesco's music ran the gamut from soul-jazz
and bluesy grooves, a la Jimmy Smith, to hard bop to the
more advanced modal style of Coltrane disciple Larry Young.
Born in Springfield, PA (near Philadelphia), on April
10, 1971, DeFrancesco was the son of another Philly-area
jazz organist, Papa John DeFrancesco, and the grandson
of multi-instrumentalist Joe DeFrancesco, who worked with
the Dorsey Brothers.
At 16 he was the first recipient of the
Philadelphia Jazz Society's McCoy Tyner Scholarship, and
was also a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International
Jazz Piano Competition. He met Miles Davis on a local
television show and impressed the trumpeter enough that
DeFrancesco was invited on tour following his high school
graduation in 1988.
DeFrancesco's reputation grew steadily,
helped by the fact that as a virtuosic yet vintage-style
organist, he was something of an anomaly on the early-'90s
jazz scene. His arrival helped revive interest in organ
jazz, and he remains one of the most versatile and advanced
of the new breed of players; inspired by Davis, he even
picked up the trumpet as a second instrument.
DeFrancesco has recorded sets for Muse
and Big Mo, and has worked extensively with guitarist
John McLaughlin. His appearance on 1994's After the Rain
and his subsequent international tour with McLaughlin
brought him to a whole new audience.