The B3 master will be missed by many.
“Our hearts and prayers are with you.” Joey Defrancesco died early Friday morning. the 26th of August 2022. He was 51 years old.
DeFrancesco (born April 10, 1971) was an American jazz organist, trumpeter, saxophonist and occasional singer. He has released more than 30 albums under his own name, and has been recording extensively as a side musician with such leading performers as Miles Davis, Houston Person and John McLaughlin early in his career. DeFrancesco signed his first record deal at the age of 16 and over the years has recorded and toured internationally with David Sanborn, Arturo Sandoval, Larry Coryell, Frank Wess, Benny Golson, James Moody, Steve Gadd, Danny Gatton, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Cobb, George Benson, Pat Martino, Tony Monaco, John Scofield, Lee Ritenour, Joe Lovano, and done prominent session work with a wide variety of musicians including Ray Charles, Bette Midler, Janis Siegel, Diana Krall, Jimmy Smith, and Van Morrison.” -Steve & Carol Gadd
Joey DeFrancesco began his recording career on Columbia with the 1989 release of “All Of Me” and released an album a year for Columbia all the way through the 1993 release of “Live at the Five Spot.” From there he went on to record and release albums for Exile Records, Verve Records, Big Mo Records, Concord Jazz, Challenge Records, High Note Records, Steeplechase Records, Sunnyside Records, Limehouse Records, and many more. His releases continued to be annual.
DeFrancesco was nominated for a Grammy award four times along with countless jazz journalist awards and international acclaim.
Joey DeFrancesco’s emergence in the 1980s marked the onset of a musical renaissance. Organ jazz had all but gone into hibernation from the mid-’70s to the mid-’80s until DeFrancesco reignited the flame with his vintage Hammond organ and Leslie speaker cabinet. The son of “Papa” John DeFrancesco, an organist himself, the younger DeFrancesco remembers playing as early as four-years-old. Soon after, his father began bringing him to gigs in Philadelphia, sitting in with legendary players like Hank Mobley and Philly Joe Jones, who quickly recognized his talent and enthusiasm. With a natural gift for music, DeFrancesco also swiftly picked up on the trumpet after a touring stint with Miles Davis as one of the two youngest players ever recruited for any of Davis’ ensembles.
DeFrancesco’s final release “More Music” dropped in September of 2021 on Mack Avenue Records and was his thirty ninth release as a band leader.
DeFrancesco collaborated with amazing players including Dr Lonnie Smith, Christian McBride, Mark Whitfield, David Sanborn, John McLaughlin, Dennis Chambers, Elvin Jones, Bobby Hutcherson, Pat Martino, John Scofield, and Van Morrison. When I saw the news, I called guitar master Fareed Haque to make sure he knew. We spent a few minutes laughing as Haque recounted stories from the two of them playing together at Java Jazz festival in Indonesia. Our condolences extend to DeFrancesco’s family and fans.
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