This Latin-flavored live date (recorded in August, 2003 at Brooklyn's Up Over Jazz Café) features the pianist son of Chico O'Farrillnow a successful forty-something small and big bandleader in his own rightin a relatively straight-ahead trio setting with bassist Andy Gonzalez and drummer Dafnis Prieto. There's no mistaking the liveness or spontaneity of invention here, and while you might expect these New Yorkers of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent to light a few bonfires along the way, they stick to a relatively cerebral and controlled path. That's not to say the clave doesn't run through much of this material, but its rhythmic aspects tend to be understated, and swing is just as important.
Gonzales' "Vieques" works a light, syncopated groove organized around a hinge-like bass motif; two Carla Bley pieces explore dramatic insistence and reflective withdrawal. Listen to an extended eleven-minute version of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" for rich, swirling undercurrents and group interplay. The much softer Silver and Ellington ballads tend to drag a bit, sounding at times over-intellectual, but Monk's very perky "Well You Needn't" closes out the set with hearty enthusiasm from all, including plenty of off-kilter, bouncing ricochets.
Overall these performances are very crisply recorded, revealing considerable maturity and strength from each player, but parts come across a little cold and dry.
Personnel: Arturo O'Farrill: piano; Andy Gonzalez: bass; Dafnis Prieto: drums.