Without the Fundamentals There’s No Depth to Your Music

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SKF NOTE: Joey DeFrancesco‘s experience with John Coltrane Quartet and Miles Davis caught my eye this morning. I’m sharing Mr. DeFrancesco’s words with you.

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Life-changing jazz albums: John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme
Hammond organ hero Joey DeFrancesco talks about the album that changed his life, A Love Supreme, by John Coltrane. Interview by Brian Glasser

[T]his was improvising to the point where you feel you could do anything. It takes a long time to be able to do that.

I heard the song ‘Resolution’, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Because there was everything – I didn’t only hear this other sophisticated harmonic approach, but I still heard the serious groove of Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison, and the way McCoy Tyner was playing behind Coltrane, the feeling. I heard a lot of blues in there too – it seemed like the history of music with so much feeling in it, all wrapped into one thing.

I think that was what I loved about Coltrane: you hear the big basis of the blues, but they’re stretching the harmonies, and they keep swinging and groovin’ so hard underneath. All the elements are there.

I think it’s very important to know the tradition. Without the foundation, the fundamentals, there’s no depth to your music. All those guys back then knew that. When I played with Miles, he explained everything musical to me with reference to that.

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