Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith

by | May 19, 2005 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Joey DeFrancesco with Jimmy Smith – Legacy – Concord Jazz CCD-2229-2, ****:

This was one of the last recordings by B3 legend Jimmy Smith, who
passed away in February. It was a studio session conceived as a
followup to their earlier live duo recorded during the San Francisco
Jazz Festival (also on Concord: Incredible). It was also their first
studio recording together. DeFrancesco used his regular rhythm section:
Paul Bollenback on guitar and Byron Landham, drums, but he added many
other sidemen for some of the tunes plus fiery tenorman James Moody on
the track “Jones’n for Elvin.” Both organists play the latest Hammond
New B-3, which DeFrancesco helped them develop as a modern digitized
update of the original tone-wheel B3. It’s also much more portable for
hauling around to gigs. However, concerned that even too much of a good
thing could get boring, DeFrancesco balanced off Smith’s B3 on several
of the tracks by playing something called a Palatino piano instead of
another B3. (I suppose it’s a digital piano of some sort.)

The opening, Legacy, features a sextet of players in addition to Smith
on B3 and DeFrancesco on piano. Guitarist Bollenback plays an electric
sitar and there are gongs plus something called a “ghost” zither. A
couple of conga and timbales players borrowed from Pancho Sanchez’ band
contribute to a strong Latin feel on some of the tracks. With the more
relaxed and unpressured studio environment, the pair of B3-ers even
outdo the incredible grooves of their previous live recording, and
there’s also more variety in the various instrumental backings. Those
familiar low frequency rolling-arounds sound cleaner and crisper on the
new B3s than the they did with the original instruments. Your
subwoofer(s) will get a workout for sure. No self-respecting B3
aficionado should be without this winner!

Tracks: Legacy, Dot Com Blues, I’ll Close My Eyes, Back at the Chicken
Shack, Jones’n for Elvin, Off the Top, Corcovado, I’ve Got My Mojo
Workin,’ St. Thomas, Blues for Bobby C., Midnight Special. 

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