Papa John DeFrancesco-B3, Andrew Gross-sax, Howard Alden-guitar, Joe Costello-drums
The father of renowned jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, “Papa John” had his career revived when his son’s success helped bring about the renaissance of the Hammond organ. The elder DeFrancesco began playing trumpet when he was six and did not start playing organ until his wife bought him one for his twenty-third birthday. After a few months of nearly nonstop practicing, he was ready to perform in clubs. In 1967, Papa John moved to Philadelphia and became part of the jazz scene there. However, in 1979, when Joey turned eight and started playing professionally, John temporarily gave up his career in order to supervise his son.
In the 1990s, Papa John returned to a more active playing career. He recorded two strong sets for Muse (“Doodlin’” and “Comin’ Home,” both of which feature Joey on trumpet) and gained a national reputation of his own for playing the organ in an infectious hard bop style not that different from his son. He signed first to Highnote and then its sister imprint Savant, where he issued a string of recordings including Hip Cake Walk in 2001, Jumpin’ in 2003, Walking Uptown in 2004, and Desert Heat in 2006. After a five-year recording hiatus, Papa John returned with A Philadelphia Story in a classic B-3 trio setting, with John Jr. on guitar, drummer Glenn Ferracone, and guest appearances from Joey and tenor saxophonist Joe Fortunato.