Van Morrison teams up with Hammond hero Joey DeFrancesco on new album You’re Driving Me Crazy

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Iconic Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison makes a dramatic return with a heavily jazz-influenced new album, You're Driving Me Crazy, which sees him join forces with renowned virtuoso Hammond-organist (and trumpeter) Joey DeFrancesco. Released on 27 April via Sony Legacy Recordings, Morrison's 39th album finds him exploring fresh interpretations of jazz and blues songs by the likes of Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer, alongside reworkings of originals from his extensive back catalogue, all set to DeFrancesco's hard-swinging Hammond work. The fine studio band also includes guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Michael Ode and tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts.

The album's jazz-centred sound revives memories of Morrison's acclaimed 1968 album Astral Weeks, which featured jazz musicians Connie Kay, Jay Berliner, and Richard Davis, while the singer has regularly shared stage and studio time with some of jazz and blues' biggest names including John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Mose Allison, Bobby Bland, Solomon Burke, Jeff Beck, Georgie Fame, Robbie Robertson, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Maceo Parker among others. DeFrancesco has also worked with a who's who of jazz, working alongside Miles Davis, Jimmy Smith, Ray Charles, David Sanborn, Larry Coryell, Frank Wess and John McLaughlin to name but a few.

A limited edition seven-inch single from the album 'Close Enough For Jazz', and a rendition of Guitar Slim's 'The Things I Used To Do', will be available for Record Store Day 2018 on Saturday 21 April. Morrison is set to open the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on 3 May.

Mike Flynn

Photo by Richard Wade