Danny Gatton & Joey DeFrancesco: Well You Needn't

Danny Gatton never achieved a modicum of the fame he deserved. He was a true phenomenon. His guitar style was a crosspollination of jazz, blues and rockabilly music, all picked at astonishingly high speeds. As is sadly often the case, it was not until after his tragic death that his legendary musical prowess was more acknowledged.

Ever since childhood Joey DeFrancesco was on track to become the rightful heir to Jimmy Smith's B-3 throne. His dad, "Papa John" DeFrancesco, was an accomplished organist. So DeFrancesco grew up with an appreciation of jazz history and took advantage of every opportunity to capitalize on his situation, including tutelage supplied by his dad.

In February 1994, just 8 months before Gatton's death, these two monster players recorded Relentless. It is an apt name for this CD.

Gatton and DeFrancesco tackle Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't" with a fervor almost beyond description. Gatton "chicken picks" the familiar melody to start. With the fine support of bassist Previti and drummer Biery, Gatton and DeFrancesco turn into whirling dervishes. During a freakishly quick-tempo call-and-response section, Gatton's retorts to DeFrancesco's rapid-fire exultations with his own riffs played at the speed of light. These blurs of sound are made all the more remarkable by the clarity and ring of each individual note. It would be really scary if someone convinced me these guys were not pushing each other to the limits. A contagious high energy is maintained throughout this performance. Good thing it's the CD's last tune. I cannot imagine wanting to hear anything else right after this.

Gatton has entered the esoteric postmortem realm along with guitarist Lenny Breau as two of the greatest players that ever lived without the knowledge of the masses. DeFrancesco continues to be the king of the B-3 Hammond jazz movement. His performance on "Well You Needn't" is just one example of why that crown fits so well.

June 25, 2008 · 0 comments


Thelonious Monk: Well, You Needn't (1957)

Anytime you can get tenor sax giants Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane in a room together, the result is bound to be explosive. Add Monk and his bebop classic “Well, You Needn’t” to the mix, and you’ve got some military-grade dynamite. Coltrane’s and Hawkins’ solos are separated by several minutes, but that does nothing to lessen their impact. Monk’s composition gives the musicians all the framework they need to blow the roof off the studio. And let’s not forget the pianist himself. He saves his own solo for last and throws in unexpected notes, pauses and runs. This reading of “Well, You Needn’t” is the bomb.

October 23, 2007 · 0 comments


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