Joey DeFrancesco: Impressions





Live at the 5 Spot (Columbia CK 53805)

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Joey DeFrancesco (organ), Kirk Whalum (tenor sax),

Paul Bollenback (guitar), Byron Landham (drums)


Composed by John Coltrane


Recorded: New York, 1993


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

To celebrate the reopening of Manhattan's 5 Spot nightclub, Joey DeFrancesco's band featured an alternating all-star tenor sax lineup to showcase that instrument's great tradition in Hammond B-3 organ ensembles. On "Impressions," the B-3 maven was joined by tenorman Kirk Whalum. (On other tracks, Illinois Jacquet, Grover Washington Jr., and Houston Person appear.) Whalum starts right out of the gate with some fine blowing on this straight-ahead swinging number, more than justifying DeFrancesco's concept for this live recording.

DeFrancesco, playing basslines, and drummer Landham make a fantastic rhythm section. Guitarist Bollenback handles the speedy changes with style and aplomb. And of course DeFrancesco, the most renowned B-3 organ master of the day, does his thing. The band cleverly avoids clichés and plays the familiar melody only at the very last minute. These are pros at work. Their version of "Impressions" leaves a good one.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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