Interview with Joey DeFrancesco: Peace, happiness and love: Video, Photos

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Jazz interview with jazz organist and trumpeter Joey DeFrancesco. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.Space: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now? You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?

Joey DeFrancesco: – My approach to writing music as well as improvising, is something that must come natural. It’s a direct connection to how I’m feeling, and what hearing at any given moment as the music and the musicians feed off of one another and the music, as well as what the vibrations of the particular space we’re playing in.

JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

JD: – We’ll influences are a large part of developing your sound and style. After playing for a period of time you naturally start to sound like yourself. Also everyday life influences play a major role in what comes out of an artist, and makes what they do personalized and original.

JBN.S: – What do you love most about new album 2019: In The Key Of The Universe, how it was formed and what you are working on today. 

JD: – In The Key of The Universe is a musical expression of where and who I am in my life spiritually in terms being aware of my surroundings on another level, and being in tune with nature. My life has been going in this direction gradually over time, so being a devout musician and lover of life it was a natural for me to step even further into the realm of spiritual/free jazz. And going in that direction it’s an obvious choice to choose Pharoah Sanders, as well as Billy Hart for this project, as I’m a strong believer of going to the source when comes to tapping into something fresh, and bringing along the musicians that are strong innovators of this approach. At the same time, when you have a musician on the level of a Troy Roberts who is a lover of all music and sounds, and is a new face on the scene, it just adds more beautiful vibrations to the groove. Then With Sammy Figueroa adding colors with various percussion instruments, you have what I would call, being “In The Key Of The Universe”.

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JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

JD: – There’s not one without the other. But let’s just call it Soulful Intellect.

JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

JD: – Speaking for myself and the musicians I surround myself with, the fact is, we can only give a true expression of what we hear and feel, there for the audience is hearing/seeing honesty. In my opinion this is giving the audience what they want. I can’t do the exact same performance every night it’s always different. But 100% honest. We all enjoy playing together and have a lot if fun, so in turn the audience has a good time, and is presented with an abundance of strong emotions on all levels. We make as much joyful noise and good vibrations as we can!

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us? 

JD: – All the experiences of being fortunate enough to have worked with so many great artists, it’s pretty difficult to talk about 1 or 2.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be? 

JD: – I find that some musicians aren’t exploring enough, and at the same time don’t have enough tradition in there playing. Exploring doesn’t always mean making music that’s difficult for the sake of being difficult. Also staying and focusing on things that have been done in the past without looking into the now, and of course what’s ahead. You start with roots, keep those roots, and grow new branches, and keep moving forward with never letting go of tradition. And have fun and be joyful while doing it. There’s some of that out here now, but we need more, and there can never be enough of that going on.

JBN.S: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music? 

JD: – Peace, happiness and love.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

JD: – Well of course there’d be so many things I want to witness on a spiritual level, but keeping it about the music, I’d want to see Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie play together. Miles and Coltrane, Jimmy Smith at Smalls Paradise in 1957, Pharoah and Trane at The Vanguard, I mean I could go on and on with that and so many other things. Why? Well I think that’s an obvious answer. Because!!

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself… 

JD: – I think you covered enough ground with these questions.

JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now? 

JD: – I feel that I explained myself clearly. I appreciate your questions and look forward to reading the piece. Thank you! Joey

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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