Joey DeFrancesco's One For Rudy is a stellar high octane tribute to Rudy Van Gelder.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Joey DeFrancesco is stupid good...Fresh, innovative, and a master technician has Joey DeFrancesco laying down an old fashioned burner that celebrates the work of the incredible Rudy Van Gelder. Over the last sixty years Van Gelder has been the recording engineer behind such icons as Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk while giving a leg up to such young lions as Jeremy Pelt and one Joey DeFrancesco and his 1990 release Where Were You?
The tunes here run the sonic spectrum from Freddie Hubbard's "Up Jumped Spring" to the one original which is the title track "One For Rudy." While this release is a blistering romp through some masterfully reharmed iconic work such as the title track from the Sonny Rollins release Way Out West, the dialed down version of Stardust is almost zen like with a less is more flair that is still peppered with a flourish of runs that add just the right amount of pop and revitalize a tune that in the hands of other artists has seen better days. Another in the plethora of reasons that One For Rudy could arguably be considered as DeFrancesco's finest work to date is the effortless chemistry that permeates the recording with new trio members drummer Ramon Banda and guitarist Steve Cotter. Here we have a trio working as a cohesive unit, one musical train of thought with DeFrancesco the obvious conductor. Banda is meticulous in his approach while Cotter provides the perfect counterpoint for DeFrancesco.
There is not much to say when reviewing the work of Joey DeFrancesco, an artist with the ability to touch your heart and set your hair on fire all at the same time. A Joey D. release is always good with the only real question being what level of "good" will he be working from? With One For Rudy we find Joey DeFrancesco paying fitting tribute to the legendary Rudy Van Gelder while inching closer to that legendary status himself. As far as good, it's stupid good!
Tracks: I Don't Wanna Be Kissed; Budo; Goodbye; Canadian Sunset; Up Jumped Spring; Way Out West; After You've Gone; Monk's Dream; Stardust; One For Rudy.
Personnel: Joey DeFrancesco: Hammond B3; Steve Cotter: Guitar; Ramon Banda: Drums.