Jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco celebrated his 40th birthday by doing what he does best, playing music.
On his latest album, DeFrancesco sounds better than ever as he swings through an update of the Ray Charles hit, “I Got A Woman.” He turned 40 in April and recorded 40 two months later.
He was anything but a late-bloomer. Under the guidance of his father, Hammond B-3 organist “Papa” John DeFrancesco, Joey began playing piano at age four. Following in “Papa’s” footsteps, he switched to organ, and by age 10, he had become a hometown favorite in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The best was yet to come for young Joey, who was a finalist in the inaugural Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. He toured and recorded with Miles Davis, and, at 18, landed a solo recording contract with Columbia Records.
DeFrancesco marks his return to the studio with several cover songs and a string of originals, including three tunes dedicated to his family.
Two compositions: “Ashley Blue” and “Donny’s Song,” pay tribute to his children, while “Gloria,” featuring Joey on vocals, honors his wife. Rounding out his trio is guitarist Rick Zunigar and drummer Ramon Banda.
So, at age 40, life is good. What hasn’t changed after all these years is DeFrancesco’s love for performing. He says whenever he takes a solo “there is something that happens spiritually; something that happens that’s beyond comprehension.”