Jazz Organ King: Joey DeFrancesco Death at 51!



The Jazz organ king and multi-instrumentalist Joey DeFrancesco death has shocked everyone in the music industry.

In every era of jazz, there are a select few musicians that define the sound and shape the public’s perception of their chosen instrument. He was one such extraordinary musician who made a splash with his organ (Hammond B-3) recording debut on Columbia Records when he was just 17 years old. Not only was he a jazz organ virtuoso, but he also displayed an extraordinary facility with the instrument, his right hand able to effortlessly reel off notes.

He also made excellent use of the organ’s drawbars, pedal board, and other controls to create a wide range of sounds. Senior Joey’s organ playing was so proficient that he could effortlessly switch from a sanctified yell to an ambient hum, as well as different textures and timbres in the middle of any phrase. Like Jimmy Smith, his hero and closest contemporary, he opened up new territory on his instrument. In the early 1990s, he brought the full, enveloping sound of his Hammond B-3 organ back into the mainstream of jazz. For the next 30 years, he would be the undisputed master of the genre.

In this detailed guide, we’ll delve into his personal life, family, wife, work, and wealth.

Joey DeFrancesco death

What exactly is Joey DeFrancesco’s deal

Joey DeFrancesco is an American jazz organist who also sings occasionally (and impressively). Joey, even in his supporting role, was a more inventive showman. He wasn’t just a great pianist, but also a saxophonist, trumpeter, and synthesizer player. But the Hammond B3, which is an old-fashioned instrument, was the basis of his great career.

The DeFrancesco Clan

It was in Joey’s family that he developed his musical talent for music. His grandfather, Joseph, was a well-known clarinet and saxophone player in 1930s-era upstate New York. Papa John DeFrancesco Sr. was an organist in the Philadelphia jazz scene. Joey got his academic and professional beginnings at Philadelphia High. His older brother, Johnny, is a blues guitarist on the professional circuit as well.

The Life of Joey DeFrancesco

Because music was in his blood, Joey began pounding on a toy piano at a young age, and by the time he was four, he was playing his father’s organ. In addition to his grandfather and father, he also studied with such well-known musicians as Shirley Scott and Trudy Pitts.

When he was nine, his father put him in a settlement music school, which is known for helping young people develop their talents.

Joey’s first professional gig was at Gert’s Cocktail Lounge on South Street, and he was just eleven years old.

The drummer, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson; the bassist, Christian McBride; and the guitarist, Kurt Rosenwinkel, were all classmates of DeFrancesco’s at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

DeFrancesco was the first of his peers to get a record deal. At the first Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, he impressed Columbia producer and A&R executive, George Butler.

Joey DeFrancesco death

Joey DeFrancesco’s Profession

Early in his career, Joey inked an exclusive (recording) contract with Columbia Records. As a result of his 1980 debut on All of Me, the mouth organ was once again being used in jazz music. Also that year, he went on a five-week performance tour around Europe with American trumpeter Miles Davis and his band.

Next, Joey played keyboards on Miles’ album Amandla, which went straight to the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart that same year.

Joey DeFrancesco’s first recording contract was when he was just 16 years old. On the world stage, he has shared the bill with the likes of Arturo Sandoval, David Sanborn, Larry Coryell, Benny Golson, Frank Wess, James Moody, Danny Gatton, Steve Gadd, Elvin Jones, George Benson, Jimmy Cobb, Pat Martino, John Scofield, Tony Monaco, Lee Ritenour, and Joe Lovano.

He also worked with well-known artists like Van Morrison, Jimmy Smith, Ray Charles, Janis Siegel, Bette Midler, and Diana Krall.

DeFrancesco has recorded almost 30 albums under his name. In addition, he has played on many recordings with well-known jazz musicians like Miles Davis (trumpet), Houston Person (saxophone), and John McLaughlin (guitar).

Honors received by Joey DeFrancesco

There are more than 30 albums under Joey’s name as a bandleader, and he was nominated for a Grammy four times. Joey has been nominated for a Grammy nine times, in 2004, 2010, and 2020, and he has won the Down Beat Readers Poll every year since 2005.

There are a lot of JazzTimes Awards that DeFrancesco has won. In 2013, he joined Jimmy Smith, his teacher, Billy Preston, Brian Auger, and Steve Winwood in the Hammond Hall of Fame.

Joey DeFrancesco death

The Untimely Passing of Joey DeFrancesco

At the time of his death, Joey was dealing with several different health problems. Even if we could get Joey’s family to talk about the tragedy, since they are not in the correct frame of mind due to their tremendous grief, we would not get very far. As soon as a member of his family is ready to share the story, we will make sure to revise the facts accordingly.

His wife and manager, Gloria DeFrancesco, verified his death, so we know that much.

Bidding Farewell

Joey DeFrancesco was an exceptional musician who achieved popularity and notoriety as a saxophonist, trumpeter, singer, and, most notably, a famous jazz organist. A deluge of tweets paying tribute to the late musician appeared as news of his passing spread. Joey DeFrancesco is gone too soon, but not forgotten. Rest in peace.