Premiere: Joey DeFrancesco Swings Hard in ‘Wide Open’ Video


Organist Joey DeFrancesco recently earned a Grammy nomination for his album In The Key Of The Universe.

(Photo: Jay Gilbert)

In the wake of his recent Grammy nomination, Joey DeFrancesco has released a live music video for his composition “It Swung Wide Open,” the studio version of which appears on his latest album, In The Key Of The Universe. (Mack Avenue).

Filmed at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, the video, which premieres below, features DeFrancesco—winner of the Organ category in the 2019 DownBeat Readers Poll—in a blazing performance alongside veteran drummer Billy Hart and saxophonist Troy Roberts, both of whom appear on the album.

In The Key Of The Universe is among the nominees in the Grammy category Best Instrumental Jazz Album, alongside the Branford Marsalis Quartet’s The Secret Between The Shadow And The Soul (OKeh/Sony Masterworks), Brad Mehldau’s Finding Gabriel (Nonesuch), Joshua Redman’s Come What May (Nonesuch) and the quartet album Christian McBride’s New Jawn (Mack Avenue).

“I was thrilled to hear about the nomination,” DeFrancesco wrote in an email. “As artists, we put our heart and soul into our music, and recognition from your peers on such a grand level as the Recording Academy is truly an honor I sincerely appreciate. It’s not about winning for me—this is my fifth nomination—but I’m grateful to be able to get my music to the people and appreciate every person who plays a role in making that happen.”

The album includes an 11-minute rendition of Pharoah Sanders’ “The Creator Has A Master Plan,” featuring a guest appearance by the legendary saxophonist. Hart plays drums on the track, nearly 50 years after contributing to Sanders’ original recording of the song on the 1969 album Karma. Sanders appears on two other tracks from the album: “And So It Is” and the title tune.

Regarding his work with DeFrancesco on In The Key Of The Universe, Hart said, “Besides his talent and the fact that he’s kept up with the current evolution of the music, he’s doing something that no one else is doing on the organ ... .”

In a four-star review in the April issue of DownBeat, Jim Macnie wrote, “Though there’s plenty of bounce and swing in play throughout the 10-track program, DeFrancesco’s self-professed embrace of spiritual jazz employs the kind of contemplative aura that gave so many of yesteryear’s exploratory efforts their personality.”

The Grammy Awards will be presented on Jan. 26, 2020, and a portion of the ceremony will be broadcast live by CBS.

For a complete list of nominations, visit the Recording Academy’s Grammy website. DB

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