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John “Papa” DeFrancesco: Walking Uptown

Like his excitable and extremely gifted son Joey, “Papa” John DeFrancesco likes to build to big crescendos and dive headlong into the blues, as heard on Walking Uptown (Savant). The Philly patriarch radiates chitlin’ circuit charm at the console, and he comes armed with a whole bag of showman tricks: the droning, wailing high-note pedal-point shtick on the raucous opener “One for Jack Mac”; the proverbial “pulling out all the stops” for dramatic effect on Curtis Mayfield’s churchy “People Get Ready”; the percussive comping on the superfunky “160 Million Dollar Chinese Man.”

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