Jazz musician and Hammond B-3 organ player Joey DeFrancesco died suddenly on August 25 at the age of 51.  No official cause of death was given but he was scheduled to perform on stage at the Lewiston Jazz Festival in the western New York community on Saturday, August 27.

He was just 17 years old when he released his debut album and has recorded over two dozen albums since.  But even at that young age, his technical prowess on the organ was clear.  While best known for his organ playing DeFrancesco also plays the tenor saxophone and trumpet; as well as, sings.  In 2013 he was inducted into the Hammond Hall of Fame.

Over the years he has shared the studio and stage with numerous artists including Miles Davis – whom he played while still a teen – Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Diana Krall, Nancy Wilson, George Benson, James Moody, John Scofield, Bobby Hutcherson, Jimmy Cobb, John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, David Sanborn, Christian McBride, Illinois Jacquet, George Coleman, Houston Person, and Pharoah Sanders.

Joseph DeFrancesco was destined to play music.  He was born on April 10, 1971 in Springfield, Pennsylvania; the son and grandson of musicians.  His brother is also a musician.  By age four he had traded in his Schroeder piano for his father”s organ and by age 10 he had made his professional debut.

DeFrancesco is survived by his wife and manager Gloria, father John, and daughter Ashely Blue.

Joey DeFrancesco discography:
“All of Me”
“Where Were You”
“Part III”
“Live at the Five Spot”
“All About My Girl”
“It’s About Time”
“The Street of Dreams”
“All in the Family”
“All or Nothing at All”
“The Champ”
“The Champ: Round 2”
“Hip Cake Walk”
“Singin’ and Swingin’”
“The Philadelphia Connection: A Tribute to Don Patterson”
“No Greater Thrill”
“Falling in Love Again”
“New Generation: Paesonos on the New B3”
“Plays Sinatra His Way”
“One Take, Vol 1”
“Organic Vibes”
“Diggin’ In”
“live: The Authorized Bootleg”
“Baddest B-3 Burner in the Business”
“Joey D!”
“Finger Poppin: Celebrating the Music of Horace Silver”
“Never Can Say Goodbye: The Music of Michael Jackson”
“One Take, Vol. 4”
“Wonderful! Wonderful!”
“One for Rudy”
“Enjoy the View”
“Trip Mode”
“Steppin’ Up”
“Project Freedom”
“You’re Driving Me Crazy”
“In the Key of the Universe”
“More Music”
“Home for the Holidays”
“Walt Sopicki Trios: B3x3”
“Back to the Bridge”

feature photo credit: Joey-defrancesco-ffm-005.jpg