Photo by Jay Gilbert


Joey DeFrancesco

Dec. 6
7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The big man of the Hammond B-3 organ, Joey DeFrancesco returns to the Dakota with a new quartet, the People, and a soulful, spiritually charged new album, Project Freedom. The band—saxophonist Troy Roberts, guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Jason Brown—joins DeFrancesco’s effervescent organ in an uplifting soul-jazz, swing, bop, and gospel-inflected collection bubbling with optimism. Kicked off by a snippet of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” the album is built around three covers: the Civil Rights Movement anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” in a soaring arrangement; Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” highlighted by Roberts’ expressive tenor; and the Miles Davis vehicle “So Near, So Far,” which thrives in a warm, funky arrangement. DeFrancesco’s seven smart originals easily slip into the thematic and musical groove, from the rambunctious bop of the title track (with a sly quote of “Go Down Moses”) to the blissful ballad “Peace Bridge” and the skittering, call-to-action finale, “Stand Up.”