Genre: Jazz
Label: Mack Avenue
Size: 12"
Additional Artists: Pharaoh Sanders
Format: 33RPM,


Joey DeFrancesco In the Key of The Universe 2LP (Purple Marbled Vinyl)

Joey DeFrancesco

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TAS Rated 3.5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the May/June 2019 Issue of The Absolute Sound!

Soulful Music On Purple Marbled Vinyl Double LP!

2020 Grammy Award Nominee:
• Best Jazz Instrumental Album: In The Key Of The Universe

As he’s made abundantly clear over the past 30 years, Joey DeFrancesco has plenty of soul. What most listeners probably haven’t spent much time pondering is that soul’s place in the universe. On his adventurous album, In The Key Of The Universe, the master organist turns his musical attentions to his spiritual side, tapping into a strain of metaphysical jazz that’s fueled sonic searchers for more than half a century. Joey D calls upon disciples and missionaries of jazz to join him in paving the way to enlightenment.

In The Key Of The Universe arrives almost exactly 50 years after the release of Karma, the landmark album by legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. One of the primary exponents of spiritually-oriented jazz, Sanders makes three guest appearances on the album, including an update of his best-known track from Karma, the cosmically influential “The Creator Has A Master Plan.” Playing drums on that track was the great Billy Hart, who reunites with Sanders as well as DeFrancesco, with whom he’s worked several times over the years since joining the organist for his 1989 album Where WERE You?

Hart makes up part of the core band for In The Key Of The Universe along with percussion virtuoso Sammy Figueroa, another Where WERE You? alum who has played with almost literally everyone over the years, from Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins to David Bowie and Patti Smith to Mariah Carey and Diana Ross. The multi-talented saxophonist Troy Roberts, a frequent collaborator in recent years, shows off his skills on tenor, soprano, alto, and even the acoustic bass. At the center of it all is the always scintillating organ work of DeFrancesco, who retains his trademark robust swing and gritty funk while striking out in freer, more exploratory directions.

"Make no mistake, the signature Joey D burn is still very much in effect here, as he demonstrates on "Awake and Blissed" and the boppish "It Swung Wide Open." But there's a heightened intent that goes beyond the earthly confines of the B-3 lounge. DeFrancesco seeks higher ground on this ambitious outing, and with the presence of the shaman-like (Pharaoh) Sanders, he succeeds." - Bill Milkowski, The Absolute Sound, May/June 2019

"There is no organist who is regarded by his peers and critics to such a degree." - Audiophile Audition

"Applying his finger-popping chops on organ and Fender Rhodes and pungent trumpet to timely themes of social justice, DeFrancesco digs into the zeitgeist, raising rippling waves of joy and hope in dark times." - DownBeat

"We hold this truth to be self-evident: All organists are not created equal, for Joey DeFrancesco is the best Hammond organist on the planet — strike that, in the universe. In the Key of the Universe honors pioneering forefathers of free jazz — saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders appears on three tunes — while saying something new about this music of spiritual transcendence." - NPR, Best Albums Of 2019 (So Far)

"It's an understatement to call Joey DeFrancesco his generation's pre-eminent Hammond B-3 organist. For 30 years, he's carried the torch of soul jazz into a contemporary framework, even when collaborating with Van Morrison or interpreting the music of Michael Jackson. On his latest project he's reaching for something deeper, with a record that takes inspiration from the likes of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. With this amiable set, DeFrancesco expands his palette while remaining true to his well-established reputation. Go ahead, spend an hour with this record while contemplating the mysteries of the universe." - John Frederic Moore, JAZZIZ

• Double LP
• Purple Marbled Vinyl
• Vinyl mastering by Chris Muth at Taloowa Mastering
• Gatefold jacket
• Limited time digital album download

Joey DeFrancesco, organ, keyboard, trumpet
Pharoah Sanders, tenor saxophone, vocals
Billy Hart, drums
Troy Roberts, saxophones, acoustic bass
Sammy Figueroa, percussion

Side A:

1. Inner Being
2. Vibrations In Blue
3. Awake And Blissed
4. It Swung Wide Open
Side B:
1. In The Key Of The Universe
2. The Creator Has A Master Plan
Side C:
1. And So It Is
2. Soul Perspective
Side D:
1. A Path Through The Noise
2. Easier To Be

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