Thursday, September 29, 2022
HomeMusicRemembering Joey DeFrancesco, pioneering Hammond organist who modified jazz music : NPR

Remembering Joey DeFrancesco, pioneering Hammond organist who modified jazz music : NPR


NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks with music critic Nate Chinen in regards to the legacy of iconic jazz Hammond organ participant Joey DeFrancesco, who died on Thursday.



ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The jazz world has misplaced its preeminent specialist of the Hammond organ. Joey DeFrancesco turned heads for many years, beginning together with his main label debut at age 17.

(SOUNDBITE OF HAMMOND ORGAN PLAYING)

SHAPIRO: His spouse confirmed the information on social media this morning, however didn’t point out a reason for demise. He was 51 years previous. Critic Nate Chinen of member station WRTI in Philadelphia is right here to assist us keep in mind DeFrancesco. Thanks for taking the time.

NATE CHINEN, BYLINE: You are most welcome.

SHAPIRO: What made his music stand out?

CHINEN: Nicely, he was simply an unimaginable virtuoso, . And the Hammond organ is that this very distinctive instrument. , once you’re behind the console of an organ, you actually have the facility of an orchestra. And so after I take into consideration his taking part in, I take into consideration this simply locomotive drive, and on the identical time, unimaginable, nearly unprecedented finesse. , he was simply such an unimaginable technician. However he paired that with this excellent feeling for connection and, , all the time deeply rooted within the blues.

(SOUNDBITE OF HAMMOND ORGAN PLAYING)

SHAPIRO: That mixture of technical talent and elegance.

CHINEN: Very a lot so. , he was a scholar of the instrument, actually understood the languages of, , everybody from Jimmy Smith, considered one of his heroes, to Larry Younger to Shirley Scott. , he actually knew everyone and absorbed all of it at a really younger age, after which fully synthesized it and took the language of the instrument additional. , he was a pioneer in that sense.

SHAPIRO: You are primarily based in Philadelphia, and he had roots there. Inform us about it.

CHINEN: Joey DeFrancesco was – and this isn’t an exaggeration – Philly jazz royalty.

(SOUNDBITE OF HAMMOND ORGAN PLAYING)

CHINEN: His father, “Papa” John DeFrancesco, who remains to be with us, was an completed organ participant arising. And so Joey realized firsthand. He is a second-generation Philly jazz organist. He realized not solely from his dad, but additionally from native gamers like Shirley Scott and Trudy Pitts and, , got here up with a technology of gamers that included bassist Christian McBride and Questlove and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. So, , he was somebody that the scene was watching from a really younger age, , actually like 9, 10 years previous. And he fulfilled that promise in a short time.

(SOUNDBITE OF HAMMOND ORGAN PLAYING)

SHAPIRO: And the way produce other musicians and followers responded to the information at the moment?

CHINEN: , everyone seems to be devastated. It is actually, actually tough as a result of, , as you famous, he was solely 51, and in addition a musician actually universally beloved, not only for his artistry, but additionally for his presence and his heat and persona, only a actually fantastic, ebullient man who made each musical state of affairs really feel that a lot brighter, , simply gave it a carry.

(SOUNDBITE OF HAMMOND ORGAN PLAYING)

CHINEN: And in addition, , indisputably the best kind of grasp of his technology on this instrument, , somebody that we have been actually trying to as a North Star. And so it is a large sense of loss that everybody feels proper now.

SHAPIRO: That is Nate Chinen from WRTI in Philadelphia, remembering Joey DeFrancesco. Thanks, Nate.

CHINEN: My pleasure.

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