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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

 

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JOEY DeFRANCESCO

Joey D!

HighNote HCD 7190

 

 

 


1. Dig
2. Lament
3. Take Me Out to the Ballgame
4. If Ever I Should Leave You
5. Besamé Mucho
6. Come Dance With Me
7. Nancy
8. Blues Up and Down


Joey DeFrancesco - Organ
Jerry Weldon - Tenor sax
Byron Landham - Drums

 

The organ trio is an ensemble with perennial appeal. Often it consists of a Hammond organ, guitar and drums, but here the guitar is replaced with a tenor sax. In fact it adds to the punch of this CD, as Jerry Weldon can play with intense funk as well as delicate lyricism. This is clear in a track like Take Me Out to the Ballgame, which is played as a jazz waltz, with the theme presented tenderly by Weldon after some bravura introductory gestures from Joey DeFrancesco

Joey himself has lost none of his ability to excite and surprise with the variety of sounds he obtains from his instrument. In fact he doesn't play the Hammond organ any more: he has been converted to the Diversi range. He was so impressed with their sound and depth that he has bought into the company and become its ambassador and adviser. The organ he plays on this album definitely has a potent sound, especially from the bass pedals, which supply the bass underpinning that would normally be provided by a double bass or bass guitar. The pedals really ground the music, especially in If Ever I Should Leave You. The organ also responds well to DeFrancesco's amazing dexterity, playing complex lines which remain clear despite their speed.

The opening Dig is based on the chord sequence of Sweet Georgia Brown, although Joey quotes Who Can I Turn To? in the course of his solo. The tunes vary from the gentle Latin-American rhythms of Besame Mucho to the straight-ahead swing of Come Dance With Me and the gentle emotion of Nancy (With the Laughing Face).

My only reservation concerns Byron Landham's drumming, which at times is rather too busy to maintain the forthright swing we expect from an organ trio. On up-tempo numbers, Byron's accents can occasionally be so numerous as to interfere with the beat. But otherwise this is a splendid album of no-nonsense jazz: just what you would expect from Mr DeFrancesco.

Tony Augarde

 

 



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