City Rhythm Orchestra
with special guest, Joey DeFrancesco
Joey DeFrancesco appears courtesy of Concord Records
City Rhythm Orchestra is a current client
David Franklin, Jazz Times
Vibrant Tones, by the Philadelphia-based City Rhythm Orchestra, includes a studio CD recorded in 2001 plus a live DVD from 2003. Each features organist Joey DeFrancesco in a major role both as soloist and as a member of the ensemble. The charts, all arranged by Joe Matt, include such jazz tunes as "Senor Blues," "Billie's Bounce," "The Midnight Sun Will Never Set," "Blues in Hoss' Flat," "Whirly Bird," "Moanin'," "Turn Me Loose" and "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" as well as pop tunes like "One Mint Julep," "The Cat," "Peter Gunn," "Walk on the Wild Side" and a few standards. Except for a few substitutions, the repertoire and the band personnel are identical on the CD and DVD. DeFrancesco is in great form throughout. He swings mightily, and his inventive lines are imbued with soulfulness. And as always, he displays an impressive agility on his cumbersome instrument. He evens treats the DVD audience to a pretty decent vocal on "Pennies From Heaven." The band not only carries out its ensemble role with aplomb (check out the blazing "Whirly Bird") but also boasts some excellent soloists in its own right, among the best being the guitarist Paul Bollenbeck.
Nancy Ann Lee, Jazz-Blues Magazine
Hammond B3 expert, Joey DeFrancesco performs with the City Rhythm Orchestra on this attractive 2- disc set containing a CD and DVD of separate performances. DeFrancescos artistry is well-known and respected and he meshes well with the bold, bluesy bravado of this band. The 2001 studio-recorded CD features twelve tunes and the DVD repeats some of them in a 2003 live-recorded, outdoor concert captured along the Delaware River in Camden, NJ. The 18- musician unit (with DeFrancesco) embodies
the passion and sound of a modernbig band as they deliver rousing arrangements of favorites such as SenorBlues, Billies Bounce, Moanin,One Mint Julep and more, all arranged and transcribed by Joe Matt. One of the best CD tracks is a blasting version of Basies Blues in Hoss Flat. In addition to spotlighting more soloists, the 11-tune
DVD features DeFrancesco crooning on Pennies From Heaven and closes with the throbbing full-band masterpiece, Peter Gunn. Founded in Philadelphia, the City Rhythm Orchestra has been performing for nearly 20 years. The band works at nightclubs, jazz festivals and in concert venues and has released several previous CDs over the years, including a 1997 live-recorded concert performance documented on Swinging Blue. Led by Nick Vallerio and Pete Spina, this is a superb band commendably driven by traps man Mike Nigro. The CRO works as a tight team, features fine soloists, and offers dazzling section work and satisfying big band sounds. The DVD is a welcome touch; seeing this band in action adds to the enjoyment of their music. DeFrancescos esteemed artistry is icing on the cake.
Jack Bowers, Cadence Magazine
With so much great music being played, it's difficult to choose one track over another - but among my favorites are "Time After Time," "Billies Bounce," Blues in Hoss' Flat," "It Could Happen to You," "Whirly Bird," and "Midnight Sun." Mind you that's merely a personal view, as every number is persuasive and swings with abandon. Needless to say, this electrifying CD/DVD combo is emphatically recomended.
This CD is a real treat, since it contains not only the regular CD, but also a full, 5.1 surround sound DVD of a live concert with this big band. And any jazz lover has got to love these tunes: Senior Blues, Moanin', The Cat, One Mint Julip, and for Jimmy Smith fans, Walk on the Wild Side, plus others. The CD is a studio recording at over 70 minutes, while the live show is just over an hour. It's interesting to actually see the concert evolve, and Joey directing the band from behind the mighty Hammond B 3 organ. It also evolves over time, starting before dusk in the Camden, NJ harbor, and progressively getting darker, showing the lights of the ships and the Philadelphia skyline behind. Both dates are well recorded, and offer great solos from most members of the Band. (The solos are credited on the CD, which is a great help for DJs and those who want to know who's playing what!). The City Rhythm Orchestra has been a big force in the Philly area for years, and their collaboration with Joey DeFrancesco dates back to 1997 and the live recording "Swinging Blue". The DVD gives the viewer a first hand look at Joey's hands in action-the guy is truly amazing. This project would make a great ChristJazz gift, indeed.
George Fendel, Jazzscene
The band sometimes has a Basie flair with arrangements from the hot burner
on your stove. Many of these sizzling solists get to show their stuff, with a decided
edge in favor of B3 wiz, Joey De Francesco. As one who is not a raving B3 maniac,
I must say that this is an ideal surrounding for a jazz organist. Why? Because in a big
band setting, there's so much "happening" in addition to De Francesco's cooking B3 solos.
Karl Stober, Jazzreview
Limehouse Records has released in 2005 one of those dynamic however unique big band projects called Vibrant Tones. Performed by one of the most diverse
ensembles in jazz, the City Rhythm Orchestra (CRO) exercise not on that big band heat but also offers the classic sounds of Joey DeFrancesco and his jazz organ.
This CD/DVD set is just a powerful display of diversity and unchallenged creative style. Its a cool sound with strong potent arrangements. Over two decades CRO has established and introduced respect by revitalizing the genre of the big band methodology. Vibrant Tones is just another step in a dignified however heated sound. For all of us who embrace this nostalgic sound CRO has again quenched our thirst for distinctive jazz and met our musical needs. This is seventeen pieces of 14-carat cool in a jewel box! The brass simmers with the bands passion for excellence as can be examined in numerous cuts on this project. The DeFrancesco organ is just so exotic in nature with its multi-personalities blossoming throughout however check the fever pitch of the keys in Billies Bounce. The organ solo is outstanding and is reminiscent of a runaway train.
I highly recommend such cuts as Whirly Bird
and One Mint Julep, but to be frank each cut should capture your
ear. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set is a romance waiting to happen
as the organ intros with a bewitching effect as the brass section with finesse
enters the arrangement. So clear and distinct are the sounds and tones, the
project blankets the total group effort of all involved. CRO
along with guest organist DeFrancesco is as big band meant to be showcased,
with class, high energy, and innovative dare. Its an investment in classic
and respectful sound keeping in touch with the big band legacy. It will make
This is a big band featuring, at various times, 5 reeds, 9 brass, and the rhythm section,
(plus Joey De Francesco) that will blow you away and if that's not enough, included
in the package is a rip roaring DVD of a live performance of the ensemble's summer jazz festival.
The arrangements by Joe Matt are superb, the soloists are magnificent and the tunes are classics.
If the energy in this band could be converted into kilowatts, it would light up New York City.
"Billie's Bounce" De Francesco's rapid fire runs race across the keyboard at warp speed
(always) in the context of the arrangement. One hears the "Stranger In Paradise" quote
from the B3 deftly inserted in the midst of De Francesco's lighting like solo. Dynamic
soliloquies by the trumpet and guitar add more fuel to the flames. This tune is as hot as it gets.
Neal Hefti's "Whirly Bird" is another dizzying excursion into the fast lane..This tune takes
off like a rocket and doesn't stop swinging until the last note is played. If you are tired
of the moronic drivel that passes as jazz these days, prepare yourself for a front row
seat to the real deal because you'll be runnin' with the big dogs this trip.Joey De Francesco,
thy name is swing... and this band is a rollicking machine whose interpretive powers are beyond comparison.
All Music Guide
3 1/2 Stars
"Whether the City Rhythm Orchestra and DeFrancesco are turning
their attention to Basie's "Blues in Hoss' Flat," Rudy Toombs' "One Mint Julep,"
Horace Silver's "Señor Blues," or Neal Hefti's "Whirly Bird." It isn't very often
that Smith-rooted organ playing is heard in a big band setting soul-jazz
is generally a small-group phenomenon and Vibrant Tones is a release
that both big band and soul-jazz enthusiasts will find rewarding.
Jack Bowers, All About Jazz
"What we have is the best of both possible worlds: the clean, harmonious sound of
the studio plus the loose and unplanned emotion of a live performance."
Nicholas Sheffo, Fulvuedrive-in
We have seen and heard enough Blues music and concerts recently that it feels like
Rock in retreat in often the saddest possible way. The gross commercialization of
Country is far more embarrassing, so why not Big Band Jazz? The City Rhythm Orchestra
is doing just that and not a bad job either. Vibrant Tones is a new DVD/CD set that shows
off their work in the studio (CD) and on stage (DVD) where in both cases, their enjoyment
of the music and playing it shows.
John Henry, Audiophile Audition
City Rhythm is a 17-piece big band with some great arrangements leaning toward a Basie influence.
Aaron Fensterheim, Award Winning Jazz Radio
"If the band was only releasing this new CD, "Vibrant Tones" by themselves
I would say must buy, with Joey D. Francesco, double must buy. Ensemble and
Solo work is first rate. Reminds of me of Jimmy Smith with Oliver Nelson
Big Band. Great Bonus DVD.
Michael James, Smooth Jazz and More
"The Cat" is a marvelous display of DeFrancesco's high powered organ playing.
The classic blues track, "Blues in Hoss' Flat" is done with perfection, blending the
solid playing of the 18 piece orchestra and the Hammond B3 Organ playing of DeFrancesco.
The CD package includes a DVD of the orchestra playing in concert at Wiggins Park in
Camden, NJ. Vibrant Tones will make you jump, jive and wale. It's an excellent piece of work.
"One of the country's finest big bands, bar none, City Rhythm is the real deal -
a high-flying, boldly swinging supergroup ...couple this 16-piece brass-blowing
machine with one of the modern masters of the Hammond B3 organ and you have
a recipe for an exciting night of massive shout choruses, killer dynamics and
some big-hearted ballads."
Karl Stark, Philadelphia. Inquirer
"The horns hit like a heat wave. Then Joey DeFrancesco comes in slammin'
all over the Hammond B-3 organ. The musicians "blow hard and take no prisoners".
Bob Collins, The Jazz Cafe, WRHU
Big Band swing deliciously served up with jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco adding
the master's touch. This CD is first rate!
Dick Crockett, "The Voice"
88.7 fm, Sacramento, CA.
"CITY RHYTHM ORCHESTRA with special guest JOEY DE FRANCESCO"
De Francesco and orchestra, this robust Philadelphia ensemble of post moderns
have you looking for dancing shoes and shores of Oliver Nelson and Ernie Wilkins,
the grand jazz inquisitors will have you jumping;
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Kari Gaffney, Publicist
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