Joe Locascio is a “January man”. When I first started to discuss this release I thought that this was a “cat” who can sing all of the standards who found a great player, “Joey D”, to hook up with and was putting out a general straight forward standards CD.
After a few conversations I realized I was working with a man who had a remarkable history not only in the entertainment industry but also in life in general. So this is man who has been a magician, actor, a martial arts master, wrestled tigers with a Mexican hit man, made a fortune and traveled the world, and so much more. But for us this is about Joey’s singing and recording. On the CD, besides Joey DeFrancesco’s work there is a who’s who of musicians who are also established artists.
Joey spent the early period of his life by being a journeyman developing his vocal chops by playing many gigs in many styles including Bobby Darrin, Tom Jones, Ray Charles, Beatles, Buddy Holly, Sam Cook, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Cash, and Lou Rawls.
It was during this period that Joey became the featured vocalist for the famous Sabre Room revue in Hickory Hills IL a little west of metro Chicago. The 2000 seat room was designed and run like a Las Vegas showroom where Joey was the featured vocalist along with the Sabrette Dancers in front of a big band sharing the stage with President’s, Governors, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, Natalie Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, BB King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Bill Cosby, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, George Burns, Alan King, Johnny Carson, Buddy Rich, Roberta Flack, Frank Sinatra Jr, Nancy Wilson, Buddy Greco, Chi-Lites, Minnie Riperton, Ramsey Lewis, Koko Taylor, Billie May & his Orchestra, Cab Calloway, Doc Severinson, Stan Kenton & his Orchestra, Glen Miller Orchestra, Harry James & his Orchestra and The Woody Herman Orchestra just to name a few.
Joey moved naturally to headlining at venues like Chicago’s Playboy Club. His group “Cold Turkey” was signed to the William Morris Agency performing all over the US at prime venues. After a full life of performing Joey semi-retired, traveled the world and took the time to become a martial arts master. Back in Chicago in the 90s he was hanging at one of Chicago’s main jazz venues, the Jazz Buffet, where he sat in with the legendary organist Jimmy Smith. Jimmy was knocked out by his singing inviting him to tour and to come to LA to record on his next CD. Unfortunately Jimmy passed away but that experience put into Joey’s vision the desire to record with an organist. This led to his relationship with Joey DeFrancesco who agreed to help arrange and play on this CD. Joey could not use Joey D’s name on the CD due to a contract conflict but it is indeed Joey D playing organ and trumpet throughout.
When Joey performs he says his secret formula is to perform ‘OPEN HEART‘ on his audience; Thereby penetrating even the coldest and hardest of personalities and reaching deep down to the core depths of an individual in order to make them 'feel good - feel better'.