Friday, 10 June 2011

Joey Defrancesco - Ballads And Blues (2001)

01.Get It All
02.These Are Soulful Days
03.Take The Coltrane
04.You Don't Know What Love Is
05.Jammin' in the Basement
06.Home on the range
07.Ceora See All 2
08.Basin Street Blues
09.Mama Don't Allow No
10.That's All.

Joey DeFrancesco (vocals, Hammond B-3 organ)
Gary Bartz (saxophone)
Papa John DeFrancesco (Hammond B-3 organ)
Pat Martino, Paul Bollenback, John DeFrancesco (guitar)
Byron Landham (drums).
Recorded at Sound On Sound, New York, New York between September and May 2001.

Don't be fooled by the title. While Ballads and Blues may sound like a mellow batch of tunes to listen to while strolling in the park, the ever-soulful Joey DeFrancesco has something else in mind. The album takes off with "Get It All," a groovy piece of funk complete with Paul Bollenback's zesty guitar and Byron Landham's balanced backbeat. A steady, rocking groove also defines pieces like "Take the Coltrane" and "Jammin' in the Basement." The latter cut, in particular, emanates a good vibe, perhaps due to the presence of brother John DeFrancesco on guitar and Papa John DeFrancesco on a second B-3. Other guests include Pat Martino and saxophonist Gary Bartz on two tracks each. At least two pieces, "Home on the Range" and "Mama Don't Allow No," suggest that DeFrancesco has been hanging out with genre-bending guitarist Bill Frisell. And while soul-jazz renditions of folk songs may sound like a strange mix, every cut flows together in a lovely mesh of organ, guitar, and drums. DeFrancesco ends the album in a flourish by adding his smooth, rich vocals to "That's All." While his fans probably will not wait for a recommendation to pick up Ballads and Blues, everyone else will find the album a good introduction to organ music for the new millennium. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.
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