The death of Joey DeFrancesco at the age of 51 was a terrible blow to the jazz world. Universally regarded as the king of the Hammond B3 organ, DeFrancesco was both admired as an artist and loved as a man. His loss will not easily be made up.

Born into a musical family in Philadelphia, DeFrancesco signed his first recording contract at 16 and never stopped making records, releasing more than 30 albums as a leader and many more as a sideman. He toured constantly and made many appearances in Toronto where, as everywhere else, he built a large and enthusiastic following.

It’s nearly impossible to pick the “best” of Joey DeFrancesco. He played with such inventiveness, such energy and such joy that even just choosing any selection of tracks at random would still yield a great selection. I’ve been playing DeFrancesco’s music on my Thursday night show The Nightfly for years, and I see no reason to stop digging his genius.

If you’re looking for a good place to start, here are five essential records.