Joey DeFrancesco: Organic Vibes

With the passing of his mentor Jimmy Smith, organist Joey DeFrancesco decided to move beyond the traditional organ-trio format in which the two B3 maestros operated. He hasn’t jumped into the realm of Larry Young’s Of Love and Peace, but the mood of Organic Vibes and the inclusion of Bobby Hutcherson does evoke Street of Dreams, the 1964 Grant Green disc that included both the vibist and Young. DeFrancesco tones down the smokin’ blues approach for something that often sounds a little more delicate but still leaves an impact.

Hutcherson gets plenty of space and puts it to good use in nine minutes of “I Thought About You” and his own “Little B’s Poem.” The Street of Dreams comparison is no mere coincidence in that DeFrancesco uses one of that album’s selections, “Somewhere in the Night,” as one of two showcases for the album’s other guest, tenor saxophonist George Coleman.

Of course, the blues can only be contained for so long. “Down the Hatch” features a melody similar to “Freedom Jazz Dance” blown over a 12-bar structure. “The Tackle,” while not blues, gets the album off to a flying start with a stop-start rhythm and fine solos from leader Hutcherson and tenor saxophonist Ron Blake, while longtime DeFrancesco drummer Byron “Wookie” Landham keeps the fire burning.