May 1998

Joey Defrancesco/"Papa" John Defrancesco
All in the Family
HighNote Records

Apparently inspired by the good times had putting together "Papa" John's 1995 offering, Comin' Home (Muse), this collection brings together father and son of the first family of jazz organ and four kindred spirits: Bootsie Barnes and Houston Person on tenor saxophones, Melvin Sparks on guitar, and Byron Landham on drums. The Hammond B-3 seems to tap directly into the emotions-perhaps this is why it has been so popular in gospel music and as accompaniment to soap operas. Whether cause or effect, the instrument seems to reach both listeners and players in a similar way. As a consequence, this is straight-from-the-gut music: the set opens with the group carving a deep "Bag's Groove" and closes with "When the Saints go Marchin' In." The centerpiece of the album is a reading of "My Buddy" that clearly speaks for the relationship the two share, but walks a dangerous path through maudlin territory. They also share some remarkable chops, and a capacity for enjoyment that is largely contagious.

Originally published in May 1998

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