Joey DeFrancesco: Fly Me to the Moon


Fly Me to the Moon



Snap Shot (HighNote 7199)

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Joey DeFrancesco (organ), Paul Bollenback (guitar), Byron Landham (drums).

Composed by Bart Howard


Recorded: Live at the Kerr Cultural Center, Scottsdale, Arizona, March 5, 2009


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

I can appreciate the nuances of chamber jazz or Third Stream experimentation even when the music is recorded in the sterile solitude of the studio. But the organ trio always sounds best in a live setting. Maybe a scientist will someday discover that those Hammond drawbars have a hidden connection to the central nervous system, thus drawing on the collective energies of the audience. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy those memorable live recordings of the great organists of jazz past. On the current roster, Joey DeFrancesco holds pride of place, and establishes his credentials again on this live recording made in March 2009. As on those historic live albums by Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and other pioneering organ donors to our collective welfare, the fans make their presence felt on this track. One shouts out during the intro, and even while he is digging into the keys DeFrancesco acknowledges his father in the audience, Papa John DeFrancesco—an organist himself—who requested "Fly Me to the Moon." Papa can be proud. DeFrancesco pushes the groove even while displacing the underlying 6/8, along the way sneaking in "Everything's Coming Up Roses" as a bouquet for dear old dad. Even so, Paul Bollenback's guitar solo is the highlight for me here. When the band falls out, his conception goes so far beyond the conventional that you might think that he is moving to another song entirely. When he settles back into the changes, our trip to the moon resumes. I hope they have room on the capsule for the Hammond organ, just in case they have jazz clubs and live recordings up there.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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