We love organ jazz around here, so it’s impossible for us to avoid the boss Hammond B3 of Joey DeFrancesco, widely regarded as being at or near the top of the heap amongst jazz organists. Who are we to argue?
So it’s not a small event for organ jazz aficionados when Joey puts out a new record, and one is due out in just a couple of weeks. One For Rudy already has something special going for it and the reason can be found in the title: the incomparable jazz engineer Rudy Van Gelder recorded, mixed and mastered this long player.
Rudy has all the appearances of being a full-on, no-frills soul-jazz burner, with DeFrancesco bringing on board his regular trio members Ramon Banda on drums and Ron Eschete protégé Steve Cotter on guitar.
His record label HighNote has an advance stream, posted above, that you should check out. “I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed” is an old tune, but Miles Davis did an exquisite rendering of it on his Gil Evans collaboration Miles Ahead back in ’57. His cool, agile delivery through the thematic lines is a virtuosic moment for him. That’s the approach DeFrancesco uses for his take on it, grooving along effortlessly as he retains a bit of Davis/Evans’ elevated feel. Later on near the end, Cotter doubles up with him on a riff that sweetens the harmonics.
Oftentimes, Joey DeFrancesco plays with a lot of muscle, but he equally superb at performing with style and grace. He does just that with aplomb on a mint rendition of “I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed.”
One for Rudy is coming out Setpeber 24 by HighNote Records.