Joey DeFrancesco

Organic Vibes

Hammond B-3 master DeFrancesco was just 17 when he made his debut on wax with 1989’s All of Me, a disc which showed that here was somebody with something to say. A fervent admirer of Jimmy Smith—the guy who really broke the mold when it came to the B-3 (and with whom he recorded twice)—DeFrancesco plays the late Smith’s 1959 B-3 in company with veteran vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, who also took his instrument in new directions 40 years ago. In a change of pace for the organist, DeFrancesco has gone beyond the usual trio setting and also included tenormen George Coleman and Ron Blake, who are accompanied by his regular sidemen, guitarist Jake Langley and drummer Byron Landham. Among the many highlights are the two features for Hutcherson. Backed by DeFrancesco and Landham, Hutcherson’s shimmering sounds are heard to excellent effect on the standards “I Thought About You” and “My Foolish Heart.” Coleman takes charge on “Somewhere in the Night” and shares space with Blake on the burning “Speak Low,” with DeFrancesco finally taking the wraps off. As Smith said of DeFrancesco: “After Joey, nobody’s close.” Amen to that!