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Joey DeFrancesco with George Coleman at BIRDLAND!!

May 18, 2012

Good evening ladies & gentlemen and welcome to BIRDLAND! Tonight we have some marvelous entertainment for you. Mr. Joey DeFrancesco on the Hammond B-3 accompanied by Mr. George Coleman on the Tenor Saxophone.

Joey DeFrancesco comes from a musical family. His Grandfather Joseph DeFrancesco (his name sake) was a reed man. And of course his father “Papa” John DeFrancesco is a fine jazz organist in his own right. At the age of 4 Joey began taking a strong interest in the organ. By the time he was five, he was playing Jimmy Smith songs verbatim. As the years went on his interest and love for the organ and music grew stronger. From the ages of 5-10 his father would bring him to his own gigs and let him sit in. At 10 years of age he began to play in a Band in Philadelphia, which featured legendary players Hank Mobley on Tenor Saxophone, and “Philly” Joe Jones on the Drums.

No tenor saxophonist better epitomizes the robust muscularity of that heavyweight instrument of jazz expression than George Coleman. With brilliant technique and a deeply soulful tone firmly rooted in his hometown of Memphis, George has performed with many of jazz’ most legendary figures and influenced countless saxophonists during his half century in music.

Growing up in Memphis’ rich musical environment of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, alongside such notables as Booker Little, Harold Mabern, Frank Strozier, Jamil Nasser, Hank Crawford, Phineas Newborn Jr., and blues immortal B.B. King, Coleman began to teach himself to play the alto saxophone in 1950, upon being profoundly affected by the music of Charlie Parker. So prodigious was his talent that George was soon performing locally and in 1952, at the age of 17, was invited to tour with B.B. King after the guitarist heard him in a local club. Coleman spent three more years on the vibrant Memphis scene, expanding his musical knowledge through his associations and influences, and writing for popular artists including the Moonglows and Ray Charles. Tonight you can see both of these Jazz Legends at the world famous BIRDLAND! Get there!

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