Scion of a musical family -- his grandfather played with Tommy Dorsey and his father was also a jazz organist -- DeFrancesco was a child prodigy of sorts, gigging professionally before he was out of grade school and tapped while still in his teens by Miles Davis to join one of the legendary trumpeter's last touring bands. That exposure led to a high-profile major label contract, sideman stints with the likes of guitarist John McLaughlin and eventually to a career as leader of his own groups. DeFrancesco's fleet-fingered leads, driving bass and crafty comping mark him as a standout among the younger generation of jazz organists, something Smith tacitly acknowledged by recording a couple of duet albums with him. Still in his early thirties, DeFrancesco continues to expand his musical horizons, playing some trumpet and singing on recent recordings, and often pushing the harmonic envelope well beyond the familiar blues-and-bop format.
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