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Bill O'Connell and The Afro Caribbean Ensemble: Wind Off The Hudson

Read "Wind Off The Hudson" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Bill O'Connell has had plenty to say with his piano in recent times, basically knocking out a session a year for the Savant imprint. And with an exploration within the solo format, a trip with an augmented trio, and ventures promoting a medium-sized conglomerate of heavy-hitters, he's certainly traversed quite an expanse there. But, as Wind Off The Hudson clearly shows, he's still got room grow. The Afro Caribbean Ensemble--his largest on-record gathering of late, and a ...

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Bill O'Connell: Monk's Cha Cha

Read "Monk's Cha Cha" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Pianist Bill O'Connell has long been valued for his blazing Latin chops, enlivening bands lead by flutist Dave Valentin and legendary conguero Mongo Santamaria as a sideman and delivering his own burning leader dates on a variety of respected imprints in recent times--Zoho, Challenge, and Savant, to name just three. He's been a steady though occasionally under-documented force in the music for decades, putting his dependable pianistic stamp on many absorbing projects, but he's never delved deeply into the art ...

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Bill O'Connell: Imagine

Read "Imagine" reviewed by John Ephland

Bill O'Connell's version of the standard “Willow Weep For Me" is one of those rare items: playing totally against type as a Latin burner with that classic, mesmerizing two-chord piano vamp, the only thing missing would be someone actually trying to sing this lament amidst the happy sprawl of players and arrangement O'Connell's dished up. Unlike other gestures into Latin-land that sprout from tune to tune with other jazz musicians, what makes Imagine notable is the combination of writing with ...

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Bill O'Connell + The Latin Jazz All-Stars: Zócalo

Read "Zócalo" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Latin jazz piano dynamo Bill O'Connell found a parallel between this gathering and Zócalo, the main plaza situated in the center of Mexico City; that square has long been a place where people meet to connect, celebrate and join together as one, and the same sense of togetherness and unity associated with that spot surrounds this recording. O'Connell and his simpatico sextet mates sizzle, swoon and soar as they explore the art of creation through communication. Sometimes ...

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Bill O'Connell: Triple Play Plus Three

Read "Triple Play Plus Three" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Pianist Bill O'Connell's Triple Play (Savant, 2008) turned traditional notions of piano trio instrumentation on their head, and this album is a logical outgrowth and expansion of that particular project. While that outing had a consistent three man line-up that married O'Connell's piano with conga drummer/percussionist Richie Flores' engaging rhythm work and the fine flute playing of Dave Valentin, Triple Play Plus Three uses Valentin's spot as a revolving hot seat. The flautist returns for three numbers, including a mellow ...

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Bill O'Connell: Rhapsody in Blue

Read "Rhapsody in Blue" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

Don't let the title, Rhapsody in Blue, fool you. Pianist Bill O'Connell isn't doing an album-length tribute to Gershwin. The title song is just one of three covers in this ten-track set; he rest are O'Connell originals. “Monk's Cha-Cha" features alto saxophonist Steve Slagle. Dave Samuels follows O'Connell with a solo. Bassist Luques Curtis, drummer Steve Berrios and conguero Richie Flores carry the mood of this piece. After the middle solos, Slagle again takes point, while Flores mixes ...

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Bill O'Connell: Rhapsody In Blue

Read "Rhapsody In Blue" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Internationally recognized composer/pianist Bill O'Connell has long been associated with Latin jazz, having established and cemented his reputation in the genre with past recordings like Black Sand (Random Chance, 2001) and Latin Jazz Fantasy (Random Chance, 2004). However the classically trained O'Connell is also well adept at playing other forms of jazz, including hard bop and mainstream--which, he does so well on Rhapsody In Blue. Naturally, O'Connell infuses this recording with a good measure of deep Latin grooves on several ...


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