Take Five: Joey DeFrancesco, GoGo Penguin, Akua Dixon, Petros Klampanis, Billy Mintz

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Take Five: Joey DeFrancesco, GoGo Penguin, Akua Dixon, Petros Klampanis, Billy Mintz


There are many paths to a killer groove, and few fixed parameters. The most important criterion is an intangible: just how good, how essentially right, does it feel? Every new track featured in this installment of Take Five is a winner in that respect, whether we’re talking about a hard-swinging churn or a minimalist swirl. As a bonus, you’ll see a first-rate drummer do a goofy dance.

The word “freedom” clearly resonates for Joey DeFrancesco, the Hammond B-3 organ kingpin and veteran hard-bop messenger. As a proud product of Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty, he grew up considering individual and collective freedoms; as a jazz musician, he developed a nuanced relationship to the idea. On Project Freedom, due out on Friday on Mack Avenue, his overarching theme is the historic and ongoing struggle for equality: the album includes stirring treatments of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and the spiritual “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” DeFrancesco also introduces new tunes with meaningful titles, like “Peace Bridge” and “Stand Up.” The title track opens in a prayerful rubato, with Jason Brown rumbling in earnest on his toms. Then DeFrancesco, tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts and guitarist Dan Wilson lock in with a boppish melody, followed by a thrilling round-robin of solos: trading choruses, then fours, and finally converging in a heated exchange. (DeFrancesco is currently on tour; for dates and information, visit his website.) — Nate Chinen

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Joey DeFrancesco #: MAC1121 RELEASED: 03/10/17