Joey DeFrancesco embodies the sound and history of Philadelphia

The Artistry of… Joey DeFrancesco

To be a Philadelphia-born musician is to be immersed in a melange of some of the best influences of American music and art forms. It’s a city that boasts its own sound, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art. A staggering richness of culture and progressive thinking including the Barnes family and Barnes Foundation, free Black former slaves, Benjamin Franklin and the Quakers.

Elements and innovations of styles of music popular all over the world can be found in that city. It’s the foundation of Joey DeFrancesco’s musical roots — roots with a Philly signature.

His father played organ and took a young Joey with him to gigs. He got a chance to sit in with luminaries of the time including players like Hank Mobley and Philly Joe Jones, the famed Philadelphia-born drummer. DeFrancesco learned to play the trumpet after touring with Miles Davis at just 17.

You can hear the distinctive DeFrancesco sound in collaborations with artists including Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Diana Krall, Nancy Wilson and George Benson. DeFrancesco continues to be a force in the music industry, active and brilliantly creative, and a supporter of young musicians with involvement in workshops and masterclasses, including the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band.

If you speak of the Philly sound, you have to include the DeFrancesco sound. To riff on George Clinton and Funkadelic, he’s all about “one city under a groove.”



The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.


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