The Music World has lost “The best Jazz Organist on the Planet”! Joey DeFrancesco passes at 51

Joey DeFrancesco 2016 photo. By Gloria DeFrancesco, CC BY-SA 3.0, https


Joey DeFrancesco (April 10, 1971 – August 25, 2022) was an American jazzorganist, trumpeter, saxophonist, and occasional singer. He released more than 30 albums under his own name, and recorded extensively as a sideman with such leading jazz performers as trumpeter Miles Davis, saxophonist Houston Person, and guitarist John McLaughlin. DeFrancesco signed his first record deal at the age of 16 and over the years recorded and toured internationally with David SanbornArturo SandovalLarry CoryellFrank WessBenny GolsonJames MoodySteve GaddDanny GattonElvin JonesJimmy CobbGeorge BensonPat MartinoTony MonacoJohn ScofieldLee RitenourJoe Lovano, and had prominent session work with a variety of musicians, including Ray CharlesBette MidlerJanis SiegelDiana KrallJimmy Smith, and Van Morrison.


DeFrancesco was a four time Grammy Award-nominee, with more than 30 recordings as a leader. In addition to Grammy nominations in 2004, 2010, and 2020, DeFrancesco was a 9-time winner of the Down Beat Critics Poll (organ) and won the Down Beat Readers Poll every year since 2005. He won a number of JazzTimes Awards as well. DeFrancesco was an inaugural member of the Hammond Hall of Fame, inducted in 2013 along with other musicians that included Brian AugerBilly PrestonSteve Winwood, and his mentor Jimmy Smith.


In addition to his father and grandfather, DeFrancesco’s brother Johnny was also a musician, focusing on blues guitar. DeFrancesco was married to Gloria until his death. She served as his manager. Together, they had two children.

DeFrancesco died from a heart attack at his home in Phoenix, Arizona, on August 25, 2022, at the age of 51.