Jazz has a long history of taking popular songs of the day and making them vehicles for improvisation. Joey DeFrancesco's current exploration of the music associated with Michael Jackson is merely the latest addition to the list. Though this music is linked with the undisputed "King of Pop," this is jazz at its finest — complex and virtuosic yet easily accessible, at times intense, at others fun-filled, and always with the feeling of the unknown that comes with truly spontaneous and inspired improvisation. Without sacrificing a whit of the popular groove of these tunes, Joey and his cohorts give them fresh color and new and different life. Jackson and his music have become part of the American landscape every bit as much as the singers that preceded him and the songs, as DeFrancesco's spirited readings bear witness to, give themselves smartly to an improvisatory approach.
With: Joey DeFrancesco, organ & trumpet; Paul Bollenback, guitar; Byron landham, drums;
Pat Bianchi, keyboards; Carmen Intorre, percussion;
Ann Fontinella, violin (on "She's Out of My Life");
Annie Sciola & Samantha Auriello, background vocals
Tracks: Thriller; Never Can Say Goodbye; Beat It; Human Nature; Rock With You; She's Out of My Life; The Way You Make Me Feel; Lady in My Life; Billie Jean
Never Can Say Goodbye
The Way You Make Me Feel