Joey DeFrancesco: Master of the B-3

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DeFrancesco (300)

Joey DeFrancesco. Bill Klewitz hide caption

itoggle caption Bill Klewitz

Joey DeFrancesco is generally acknowledged to be the reigning king of the Hammond B-3 organ. He's also a great guy to hang out with. So naturally, when he visited Seattle, we invited him to KPLU for an in-studio performance and interview. That said, nobody wanted to lug a massive B-3 from the nightclub to the studio, so we set DeFrancesco up with a Hammond XK-3, a keyboard that does a terrific job of synthesizing the B-3 sound. Since he actually worked with the Hammond company to develop the XK-3, we figured he could adapt his chops to it with ease.

In addition to playing three solo pieces, DeFrancesco talked about the history of the organ in jazz music, his musical upbringing in the rich Philadelphia jazz scene, and his great admiration for the all-time boss of the B-3, Jimmy Smith.

More About Joey DeFrancesco

As the son of Hammond B-3 player "Papa" John DeFrancesco, Joey got a full jazz education before he'd completed elementary school. He went to jazz clubs with his father and learned the piano and the B-3, and by age 6, he was sitting in on his father's gigs.

Among his many credits are work with Miles Davis (Amandla), John McLaughlin's Free Spirits trio, and Pat Martino. His solo material and collaborations are often credited with the resurgence of the B-3 organ in jazz, prompting Down Beat to name him top jazz organist five times.

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