Artist Gallery Photo

Joey DeFrancesco Trio
with special guests
Gary Bartz Thu-Sat & Azar Lawrence Sunday
CD RELEASE!
In The Key of The Universe

Thu, Mar 28 -
Sun, Mar 31, 2019




$40.50 ($6 Handling Fee Included) All purchases are nonrefundable/nonexchangeable.

Tickets may be purchased on-line or by phone.
Night of show seating typically available.



We just received news that Pharoah Sanders fell and broke his hip. We’re carrying him in our thoughts and prayers with hopes for a speedy recovery.

THE JAZZ GODS HAVE BLESSED US AND PHAROAH'S
DEAR FRIENDS HAVE STEPPED UP TO FILL IN.

The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley welcomes the Joey DeFrancesco Trio with special guests Gary Bartz Thu-Sat & Azar Lawrence Sunday, together in celebration of the new release In The Key of The Universe. Band members are Joey DeFrancesco (organ, trumpet, vocals), Troy Roberts (sax), and Billy Hart (drums). Show times Thursday and Sunday at 7:30pm. Show times Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Doors open at 6:00pm Thursday and 5:30pm Friday-Sunday.

artist info

As he’s made abundantly clear over the past 30 years, Joey DeFrancesco has plenty of soul. On his adventurous new album, In The Key Of The Universe, the master organist turns his musical attentions to his spiritual side, tapping into a strain of metaphysical jazz that’s fueled sonic searchers for more than half a century. Joey D calls upon disciples and missionaries of jazz to join him in paving the way to enlightenment.

An artist who's always been deeply attuned to the full history of jazz and able to tap into it in innovative ways, DeFrancesco naturally feels a profound connection to the questing, devotional jazz of forebears from Sanders to John Coltrane to John McLaughlin. It may seem like a change in direction, but unexpected travels into new territory has been a central tenet of DeFrancesco’s music throughout his remarkable career.

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A native of Baltimore, Gary Bartz ventured to New York City to attend the Juilliard School in 1958. At the time, performers such as Thelonius Monk, Ornette Coleman, and Miles Davis were playing at Birdland and the city’s other premiere clubs every night, and Bartz regularly snuck in to see them.

In the 1960s, Bartz joined the Max Roach/Abbey Lincoln Group and the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop, quickly earning a reputation as the greatest alto saxophonist since Cannonball Adderley. In 1965, after meeting the group at his parents’ nightclub, Bartz joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and recorded Soulfinger, his recording debut. Around the same time, he began working with McCoy Tyner, and their relationship deepened the influence of John Coltrane on Bartz.

In 1970, Bartz received a call from Miles Davis, who asked Bartz to perform with his band at the historic Isle of Wight Festival. In the same year, Bartz also formed his own group, Ntu Troop, after the Bantu word for “unity.” Ntu blended soul, funk, African folk music, hard bop, and avant-garde jazz on such albums as I’ve Known Rivers and Other Bodies, based on the poetry of Langston Hughes, as well as Music is My Sanctuary, Love Affair, Another Earth, and Home.

Overall, Bartz has recorded more than 40 solo albums and over 200 as a guest artist. More recently, he released Coltrane Rules: Tao of a Music Warrior, Live at the Jazz Standard Volume 1 and Volume 2, and several others, on his own label, OYO, which is named for the Nigerian tribe and the acronym “Own Your Own.” He was also spotlighted in the “Blindfold Test” section of DownBeat magazine in January 2008, and he continues to perform with McCoy Tyner in such cities as Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Bartz received the BNY Mellon Jazz 2015 Living Legacy Award that honors jazz masters from the mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education.

In 1995, Bartz released The Red and Orange Poems, a “musical mystery novel.” He won a Grammy Award for his performance on McCoy Tyner’s Illuminations.

Gary Bartz has performed with:

Miles Davis, Shirley Horn, McCoy Tyner

Max Roach/Abbey Lincoln group

Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers

Charles Mingus’ Workshop

________

Azar Lawrence was a young music prodigy, lovingly tutored by his mother, who taught music and led their church choir. At age 5, he played violin in the Los Angeles Junior Symphony, then viola, but his ears were turned to the saxophone at age 13. Azar spent his teen years immersed in jazz at the home of his best friend, none other than the late Reggie Golson, son of the great composer/arranger/saxophonist, Bennie Golson. From then on it was jazz, jazz and more jazz!

Azar began his jazz career at the renowned Dorsey High School Jazz Workshop. After high school he played in Horace Tapscott's Pan Afrikan Arkestra, and played weekly with George Cables, Candy Finch, Larry Gales and Woody Shaw in Los Angeles at local club, L.B. West on 54th St. Before long, he performed with the Ike & Tina Turner band, the Watts 103rd Street Band and War. The 19 y.o. musical genius – he’d blush at the description – then joined John Coltrane drummer, Elvin Jones for 3 ½ years.

McCoy Tyner then invited Lawrence to join his quartet, an alchemy that lasted for 5 ½ exuberant years. Why? As the great McCoy said: “I think you [Azar] feel the same way about the music that John [Coltrane] did.” Azar performed on arguably Tyner’s best albums, Enlightenment, Atlantis, and Sama Layuca. During his tenure with Tyner, Azar also recorded with Miles Davis on the album Dark Magus at the famed Carnegie Hall. Upon leaving Tyner, Azar recorded his own projects, including the recently reissued Bridge Into The New Age (1974), then Summer Solstice, (1975), and People Moving (1976).

Azar went on to record/write for luminaries such as Freddie Hubbard, Busta Rhymes, Roberta Flack, and Phyllis Hyman. His sensational collaborations of the period included writing and performing on Earth Wind & Fire’s highly acclaimed platinum album, Powerlight, and on Marvin Gaye’s Grammy award winning, Hear My Dear.

In the early 2000s, Azar surged back onto the jazz scene and continues to roar, electrifying audiences with outstanding original compositions inspired by his intense spiritual feelings, as well as songs from the Coltrane songbook: The Legacy and Music of John Coltrane, 2007, Speak The Word Revelations, Prayer For My Ancestors, Mystic Journey, The Seeker, Live At The Jazz Standard, which featured Azar’s own “Lost Tribes of Lemuria,” and McCoy Tyner’s signature, "Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit.”

Azar’s 2018 album, Elementals, hit #2 on the Jazz Weekly charts. Chris May wrote: “Azar Lawrence sounds more like John Coltrane than John Coltrane ever did. Well, almost…. but it has not been a cynical pose designed to maximize Lawrence's commercial appeal.” (All About Jazz, April 18, 2018.) Concord reissued the highly acclaimed Bridge Into The New Age in November of 2017.

Azar’s band, The Azar Lawrence Experience (TALE) appears with as many as eight musicians who sizzle to the sounds of Azar's powerful original compositions, and a Coltrane standard here and there. The jazz world eagerly awaits Concord’s vinyl reissue of Azar's stunning 1976 album, Summer Solstice. TALE dedicates itself to sharing a lifetime of Azar's music, art and spirituality with global audiences.

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