Joey DeFrancesco – More Music – Mack Avenue Music Group MAC1186 CD, digital download, or 2-LP gatefold colored vinyl [9/24/2021], 65:21 *****:
Award-winning jazz organist expands his instrumental repertoire on latest Mack Avenue release.
(Joey DeFrancesco – organ, trumpet, tenor saxophone, keyboard, piano, vocals; Michael Ode – drums; Lucas Brown – guitar, organ, keyboards)
On Joey DeFrancesco’s latest release from Mack Records (More Music), it is clear that he is bringing all of his considerable talents into focus. In addition to his signature organ and trumpet expertise, he plays assorted keyboards, piano and has added tenor saxophone to his instrumental repertoire. The eleven original compositions offer a positive vibe and enriched musical tapestry. Lucas Brown has been added to fill in on organ, keyboards and play guitar, while Michael Ode is on drums. The album opens with a nimble medium-swing number, “Free”. DeFrancesco delivers two energetic trumpet solos (muted and standard). Brown adds a rhythmic organ run as DeFrancesco frames it with keyboards. This project also features the renowned organist’s recording debut on tenor saxophone with “Lady G”. He embraces the melody with soulful delicacy and gentle sway. The inflection and phrasing feel natural, creating a dream-like aesthetic. Returning to the classic trio format (organ, guitar drum) on “Just Beyond The Horizon”, DeFrancesco interacts with Brown (on guitar this time) seamlessly. His organ solos glide with jazzy intonation and the group finishes with briskness and purpose. Shifting to piano, “In Times Of Reflection” is ethereal and arranged in a subtle 3/4 time signature. Again, the innate chemistry is palpable, with organ, piano or trumpet. DeFrancesco’s next saxophone track, “Angel Calling” infuses heartfelt warmth and free jazz spirituality, with some lower-register and tonal expansion.
DeFrancesco explores more exotic motifs on “Where To Go”. He shines on back-to-back trumpet and organ runs (including trading off with Brown) with adroit execution and colorful accents. His passionate commitment always elevates the jam. There is a catchy tempo uptick at the 4:50 mark. Back in pared-down trio mode, “Roll With It” has a breezy dynamic. Brown takes the first solo with dexterous articulation. DeFrancesco follows with a skillful organ that changes tone and engages in a call and response with Ode. On the final tenor cut (“And If You Please”), he contributes jazz-nuanced vocals. Brown kicks off the title track on guitar with laid-back phrasing. DeFrancesco glows on his magnetic organ solo with rhythmic flourishes, sustains and buoyant hooks. In another texture and style translation, he plays a funky keyboard intro to “This Time Around”. Brown solos on keyboard and hands off to the organ maestro for yet another passionately eloquent solo (they actually do this twice). The jam combines traditional and modern contexts. The finale is fitting for this exceptional recording. “Soul Dancing” is gospel and blues-based with unrelenting, joyous resonance. Both DeFrancesco and Brown propel this festive celebration with hot licks and Sunday morning intensity.
This release is available on CD, digital download and for vinyl enthusiasts …an eye-catching splatter colored double LP. More Music is a great jazz album!
Free; Lady G; Just Beyond The Horizon; In Times Of Reflection; Angel Calling; Where To Go; Roll With It; And If You Please; More Music; This Time Around; Soul Dancing