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Blow those pipes at Renfrew Jazz Festival

August 20, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Sax, guitar, piano, drums, organ?

An organ probably isn't the first thing to come to mind when one things of jazz music.

"Unfortunately a lot of people feel that way. The organ has not gotten the respect it deserves in the jazz world," said Joey DeFrancesco.

DeFrancesco is one of the guest musicians for this Sunday's Renfrew Jazz Festival. He plays the organ, specifically a Hammond B-3.

"A lot more players are doing it. It's become a very big, important sound in jazz," said DeFrancesco, who grew up in Philadelphia, but has lived in Arizona the past 10 years.

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This Sunday will be a reunion of sorts. DeFrancesco, drummer Byron Landham, and guitarist Paul Bollenback have played together off and on for almost two decades. They will be joined by singer Chris McNulty.

Bollenback, of New York, has performed at 16 of Renfrew's 18 jazz festivals, said Andrew Sussman, who schedules musicians for the event.

DeFrancesco just returned from a six-week European tour with Landham, with whom he's performed the past 20 years. The two met at Settlement Music School in Philadelphia and are like brothers in many ways, DeFrancesco said.

DeFrancesco, Landham and Bollenback worked on a new album, "Snapshot," that is coming out in October. "Finger Poppin' with Joey DeFrancesco: Celebrating the Music of Horace Silver," a tribute to the jazz pianist, was released in May.

He has more than 25 albums on which he is the leader.

DeFrancesco grew up with organ music in his home. His father, John, played jazz on an organ at home. DeFrancesco began playing at age 4. His father would guide him, and he learned a lot on his own.

"I tried to have some formal training, with classical piano and stuff, but I was never really interested in that," he said. He benefited from having a good ear. DeFrancesco said he was too impatient to learn how to read music as a child, so he picked up that skill later in life.

"I never did anything but this, and I guess because I started so young, I knew right away what I wanted. I stuck with it. This is the only job that I've ever had. I feel very fortunate and very lucky to do that," DeFrancesco said.




If you go ...



WHAT: Renfrew Jazz Festival with Paul Bollenback, Joey DeFrancesco, Byron Landham and Chris McNulty.

WHEN: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23

WHERE: Lawn behind the Renfrew Museum, 1010 E. Main St., Waynesboro, Pa. Rain site is Waynesboro Area Middle School auditorium.

COST: Free

CONTACT: For more information, call Renfrew Institute at 717-762-0373 or go online to www.renfrewinstitute.org .

MORE: Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Picnics welcome. Light refreshments will be provided.

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