A renewed interest in organ jazz during the late '80s was fueled by the rise of Joey DeFrancesco, a child prodigy who has continued to foster the legacy in grand fashion. Of course, it would have been difficult for the Philadelphia native not to get involved in music: His father, Papa John DeFrancesco, is an ardent B-3 titan himself, with a record collection featuring a slew of '60s organ classics. In fact, a young Joey started working at the keys way before his feet could even reach the organ's foot pedals. First influenced by Jimmy Smith, DeFrancesco also tapped the solid bass lines of Richard "Groove" Holmes and the advanced hard-bop language of Larry Young in forming his own burgeoning style.
Not yet out of high school, DeFrancesco tasted his first bit of success while gigging with jazz legend Miles Davis. Around the same time, he recorded his debut album and since then has continued to lead his own groups, eventually even cutting a record with mentor Smith. His most recent releases are Blues and Ballads (with guest Pat Martino) and a tribute set for the late groovemaster Don Patterson, titled Philadelphia Connection. In terms of technical fluency and genuine soul, both albums illustrate that DeFrancesco continues to champion a renaissance he himself initiated more than a decade ago.