Joey Defrancesco

Joey DeFrancesco, born April 10, 1971, is an American jazz trumpeter, organist, and singer. Since 2003, Down Beat’s Critics and Readers Poll voted him the best jazz organist. DeFrancesco was a Springfield, Pennsylvania native. His grandfather was multi-instrumentalist Joe DeFrancesco, of Italian descent; his father is Hammond B3 player “Papa” John DeFrancesco, who took his son to jazz clubs from the age of seven. Joey DeFrancesco began playing piano at age four and switched to the B3 shortly thereafter. He was six years old and was already sitting in at his father’s gigs. He was enrolled in Settlement Music School’s Jazz Band by the age of ten. Lovett Hines directed him to learn and perform with the Jazz Band, which included Robert Landham, drummer Kevin Outterbride and Leonard Richardson Sr. He also played with Kelvin McDaniel as guitarist, and also performed on his own with organ legends Richard “Grooveā€¯ Holmes and Jack McDuff. DeFrancesco attended high school with Christian McBride, and was often teased for changing the big band charts. He was also a member of the local jazz band, Strictly Business, with drummer Leon Jordon Sr. as well as bassist Leonard Richardson Sr. Miles Davis approached DeFrancesco when he was seventeen years old to ask him to join his band. DeFrancesco went on tours throughout Europe with Davis and recorded Amandla. His work with John McLaughlin’s trio Free Spirits made him well-known in the 1990s. He has played with many jazz musicians, including Pat Martino and Paul Bollenback as well as Jimmy Bruno, Dave Stryker and Danny Gatton. DeFrancesco’s recordings as a leader with Columbia and later with labels like Muse and Big Mo established what Chris Parker called “his importance” as “one of the most unfussily skilled torch-bearers contemporary organ jazz.” DeFrancesco learned from Jimmy Smith and listened to him in High Note’s 1999 release, The Champ. He recorded Incredible! in 2000. Smith was also on the album. In Tribute To Don Patterson: The Philadelphia Connection, released in 2004, he also pays tributes to Don Patterson. McDuff was also a mentor to DeFrancesco, and he recorded along with him. Jimmy Smith was DeFrancesco’s partner on Smith’s final effort, Legacy. It was completed just days before Smith’s death in 2005. Joey DeFrancesco is still on the road 200 nights per year with different musicians. His core band includes Byron Landham (drums), Paul Bollenback on guitar, and Pat Bianchi on keyboards. He lives in Arizona with his father, Ashley Blue Defrancesco, and daughter when he is not on the road. Wikipedia

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