Joey DeFrancesco, born April 10, 1971, in Springfield, Pennsylvania, was an acclaimed American jazz organist, trumpeter, saxophonist, and occasional singer. His musical journey was deeply rooted in a family of jazz musicians, including his father, organist “Papa” John DeFrancesco. Joey started playing the organ at age 4 and by 5, he was performing Jimmy Smith’s songs verbatim. At 10, he joined a band in Philadelphia, opening for artists like Wynton Marsalis and B.B. King.
DeFrancesco signed a recording contract with Columbia Records at 16, releasing his first album “All of Me.” His work contributed to reviving the organ in jazz during the 1980s. He toured with Miles Davis in Europe and played keyboards on Davis’ album “Amandla.”
In the early 1990s, DeFrancesco collaborated with John McLaughlin and was a founding member of The Free Spirits. He was renowned for his swinging Philly sound, embellished with intense improvisation, and was known as the best B3 player of his generation by “JazzTimes.”
A multi-instrumentalist, DeFrancesco recorded on various keyboards and trumpet, and later added the tenor saxophone to his repertoire. He was a four-time Grammy Award nominee, with more than 30 recordings as a leader, and an inaugural member of the Hammond Hall of Fame.
DeFrancesco was married to Gloria, who also served as his manager, and had a daughter named Ashley Blue. He passed away from a heart attack on August 25, 2022, at age 51.