Joey DeFrancesco, renowned jazz musician who worked with Ray Charles, has died

Joey DeFrancesco has died, confirmed his wife and manager Gloria DeFrancesco.

The famous jazz organist, composer and bandleader who worked with artists such as Ray Charles, Van Morrison and Bette Midler was 51.

“The love of my life is now at peace with the angels,” Gloria wrote on Instagram Friday, August 26. “Right now, I have very few words. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support from everywhere. Joey loved you all.

A cause of death was not provided.

DeFrancesco played trumpet, piano, saxophone and synths but, as Fork points out, was best known for reviving the use of the Hammond B3 organ in the modern jazz scene.

The musician’s career began to take off in the 1980s. He would go on to release over 30 recordings as a bandleader.

He was born in 1971 in a city outside of Philadelphia. His father is acclaimed organist “Dad” John DeFrancesco, who brought Joey a B3 organ when he was 4 years old.

The prodigious talent was performing in the Settlement Jazz Ensemble at Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School as a teenager, and at 17 he was asked to tour with Miles Davis.

He released his debut album “All Of Me” in 1989 and released dozens more before his final album, “More Music,” in 2021.

Five of his albums received Grammy nominations, including his 2019 LP, “In The Key Of The Universe,” which features songs written by Pharoah Sanders and Billy Hart.

In 2018, DeFrancesco worked with Van Morrison for a collection of originals and standards called “You’re Driving Me Crazy”.

Tributes followed for the late musician, including from jazz fusion pioneer John Mclaughlin who said: “Goodbye to my brother Joey DeFrancesco. We shared some of the greatest concerts of my life We will miss you!!!”

Musician Alex Skolnick wrote: “Sad loss: I’ve seen it many times, always with the best guitarists, well known (John McLaughlin) to local legend (Paul Bollenback).”

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