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Joey DeFrancesco

June 22, 2023, 7:30 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)
| Jazz St. Louis

More Music is “more” in every conceivable way. It offers ten new Joey DeFrancesco originals, brought to life by a scintillating new trio. And the master organist, who has long supplemented his keyboard virtuoso with his skilled trumpet playing, here brings out his full arsenal: organ, keyboard, piano, trumpet, and, for the first time on record, tenor saxophone. He also steps to the microphone to croon Mario Romano’s yearning “And If You Please.”

 

While this period of re-emergence from our collective quarantine turned out to be the perfect time for it, DeFrancesco had envisioned a project to showcase his multi-instrumentalism well before COVID was on anyone’s mind. The trumpet has been a feature of his repertoire for most of the organist’s career, inspired by his tenure with Miles Davis while still a teenager.

 

He first decided to try his hand at the tenor 25 years ago. His grandfather and namesake, Joseph DeFrancesco, had played tenor and clarinet, and his horns were still in the family home in Philly. “One day, I just decided to get his tenor out of the case and see if I could play it. So for about two weeks, I practiced, and it actually came pretty quick. I got so comfortable that I went down to Ortlieb’s for a jam session. I got on the stage, and [Philadelphia saxophonist] Victor North was standing next to me. I didn’t know who he was, but he looked like Buddy Holly so I figured I’d be fine. Well, Victor North kicked my ass, and the horn went back into the case for another 25 years.”

 

In recent years, his interest was renewed by a confluence of factors – primarily the opportunity to record with legendary tenor titan Pharoah Sanders, with whom DeFrancesco collaborated on his 2019 Mack Avenue Records release, In the Key of the Universe. The subsequent tour found the organist paying particular attention to the sound of his regular tenor player, Troy Roberts, while delving deeper into the music of sax icon Charles Lloyd. In November 2018, DeFrancesco approached his father and once again borrowed his grandfather’s tenor.

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