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Joey DeFrancesco

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Joey DeFrancesco (b. April 10, 1971) is an American jazz organist and trumpeter. Down Beat’s 2003 Critics Poll selected him as the top jazz organist.

DeFrancesco was born in Springfield, Pennsylvania. His grandfather was multi-instrumentalist Joe DeFrancesco, and his father was Hammond B3 player “Papa” John DeFrancesco, who took his son to jazz clubs from the age of seven. Joey DeFrancesco started playing the piano at the age of four, switching to the B3 at an early age. by the age of six he was sitting in on his father’s gigs, and by ten he was playing his own gigs and sitting in with players such as Jack McDuff and Richard “Groove” Holmes. When DeFrancesco was only seventeen years old, Miles Davis asked him to join his band. DeFrancesco toured Europe and recorded Amandla with Davis. He became well known in the 1990s, however, through his work with John McLaughlin’s trio Free Spirits. He has also played with jazz guitarists Paul Bollenback, Jimmy Bruno, and Dave Stryker.

DeFrancesco’s own recordings as leader – first with Columbia, later with labels such as Muse and Big Mo – established what Chris Parker has referred to as “his importance as one of the most unfussily virtuosic torch-bearers of contemporary organ jazz.”[1]

DeFrancesco listened and learned from the B3 masters, especially Jimmy Smith, to whom he pays homage in his 1999 High Note release, The Champ. In 2000 he recorded the album Incredible! with Smith. He also pays tribute to Don Patterson in Tribute to Don Patterson: The Philadelphia Connection released in 2004. DeFrancesco also learned from McDuff, and recorded with him as well.

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