Joey DeFrancesco

Wonderful! Wonderful!

Sparks fly when Joey DeFrancesco attacks the Hammond B3 with hands and feet. The 41-year-old Philadelphia keyboardist, whose dexterity has come to surpass that of his mentor, Jimmy Smith, has long recorded with his road drummer, Byron Landham — a master of speedy polyrhythmic push and pull — and a changing cast of guitar players. Wonderful! Wonderful!, however, finds him in the old-school company of Jimmy Cobb, now 83, Dinah Washington’s onetime husband and Miles Davis’ drummer from 1958 to ’63, and pioneering fusion guitarist Larry Coryell, 69, who brought rock influences to jazz in his work with Chico Hamilton, then Gary Burton, during the second half of the Sixties.

This multi-generational combo is a real winner. Cobb provides DeFrancisco with crisp grooves that are more straight-ahead than Landham’s, without fettering the organist’s rapid-fire flights of imagination. Coryell shows himself to be an ideal organ trio guitarist, with a warm, rounded tone and darting bop lines that betray little of his earlier rock sensibility. Besides one original tune apiece by DeFrancesco and Coryell, the program includes the standards “Solitude,” “Wagon Wheels,” “Love Letters,” and Benny Golson’s “Five Spot After Dark.” The leader picks up a trumpet with his right hand for a Harmon-muted treatment of “Old Folks” in a Miles manner. And the title tune, a 1957 hit for Johnny Mathis, works quite wonderfully in the jazz context. (HighNote)


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