When it comes to narrative arcs, few are more compelling than the story of two people on separate life paths who eventually connect and create something unexpected. Often, the two then travel in very different directions afterward. This is the trope that guides every version of A Star Is Born. It’s the story of Gil Evans and Miles Davis in the ’50s. And it’s the basis for many, many other vibrant collaborations in the creative arts.
It also informs the story of how Joey DeFrancesco came to revisit the iconic jazz anthem “The Creator Has a Master Plan” with its original architect, Pharoah Sanders, 50 years after its original release; you can hear the results on DeFrancesco’s latest album for Mack Avenue, In the Key of the Universe. This was not a partnership that most people predicted, but if you’d been paying attention to each of their musical journeys, it made complete sense. Converging across generations, genres, and circumstances, the 78-year-old Sanders and 47-year-old DeFrancesco ultimately came to collaborate through their shared love for jazz—and produced music that crackles with energy.