Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cory Weeds & Joey DeFrancesco - All About Jazz

The Many Deeds of Cory Weeds
Cory Weeds & Joey DeFrancesco (Cellar Live)

Joey DeFrancesco (High Note)

This pair of live recordings featuring organist Joey
DeFrancesco finds him in two very different mindsets.
The Many Deeds of Cory Weeds, recorded in Vancouver,
puts DeFrancesco behind saxist Cory Weeds alongside
Chris Davis (trumpet) and Byron Landham (drums),
playing with a straightahead vigor, blasting through
hardbop classics. Snapshot sets DeFrancesco in a classic
jazz organ trio with guitarist Paul Bollenback and
Landham once more, using a greater sense of space to
create a more modern record.

The Many Deeds opens with Horace Silver’s “Juicy
Lucy”. Weeds confidently struts through a tasteful
solo with Davis close on his heels, spouting gravelly
lines over the rhythm section’s unerring sense of
swing. “Goin’ Down” is a great boogaloo vehicle for
DeFrancesco’s funky fingers to build an explosion of
syncopated vibrato. The album features two Hank
Mobley tunes: “Fin de L’Affaire” and “Boss Bossa”.
The former, a steamy ballad, brings out the best in
Weeds’ delicate touch while the latter features Davis
evoking Clifford Brown through his breathless runs.
DeFrancesco’s unwavering basslines provide
invaluable support, embracing his inner Jimmy Smith
with split-brained precision. In just eight tunes, half
over ten minutes, The Many Deeds is an excellent oldschool
blowing session that never seems excessive.

Snapshot is a reunion for DeFrancesco. Guitarist
Paul Bollenback left DeFrancesco’s band some time
ago but has joined up again to revel in the band’s 15-
year history. Bollenback’s choppy, staccato notes blaze
across the record, drawing DeFrancesco into more
adventurous support from his basslines to his
syncopated chord clusters. The album opens with Ron
Carter’s “Eighty One”. Unlike with The Many Deeds
DeFrancesco gets some chordal support, which allows
him to drift a little further into reharmonization and
dissonance. Harold Land’s “Ode to Angela” highlights
Bollenback’s ethereal accompaniment behind
DeFrancesco’s soaring, quick-fire lines, with a few
cheeky quotes in between. The Eddy Arnold classic
“You Don’t Know Me” gets a slow, gospel reworking with
Landham’s chiming cymbal pushing the band
into the more soulful corners of their instruments
while “Fly Me to the Moon” goes in directions Frank
Sinatra would probably have had trouble following;
pedal tones build the tension while the band makes a
tried and true standard new again.

Snapshot proves that the DeFrancesco trio never
lost their musical connection with telepathic shifts
occurring with every chorus. Here’s hoping their
partnership is renewed for a few more albums.

Cory Weeds & Joey DeFrancesco @ All About Jazz - New York

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