129

Bill O'Connell: Rhapsody In Blue

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Bill O'Connell: Rhapsody In Blue 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 pieces, but with the number of excellent hard bop charts to be savored, it would be a mistake to categorize this as a Latin jazz project.

Having stated the obvious, the music opens up with "Monk's Cha-Cha," a nod to the Thelonious Monk compositions "Misterioso" and "Well You Needn't," with strong Latin rhythms propelled by Steve Slagle's tenor saxophone salvos and Dave Samuels vibraphone work. George Gershwin's famous title tune is another Latin sizzler, with O'Connell guiding the music in front of both Slagle and Samuels, as well as percussionist Richie Flores, "Off-Center" is the other obvious Latin number, featuring crashing cymbal accents from drummer Steve Berrios,as O'Connell lays down gorgeous and creative piano lines throughout.

The hard bop emerges on the second track, the perky "Pocket Change," and continues with the hard-driving original "J-Man," featuring more steamy work from Slagle and a superb trombone solo from Conrad Herwig on this, his only appearance of the album. "Two Worlds" and "Log-A-Rhythm" stray a bit from the hard bop flavor and follow a more mainstream approach. O'Connell gives one of his best performances on the intimate "Rose Hill," a charming duet and musical conversation with Slagle on alto saxophone.

Delivering a reverend and humbling rendition of the Rodgers and Hart classic "It Never Entered My Mind," Slagle lends a special tender touch, this time on the soprano, while O'Connell matches his gentle left-hand chords with ample right hand dexterity on beautiful fluid lines. Finishing off the album as he started, O'Connell closes with a Latin-infused version of the Henderson/Dixon standard "Bye Bye Blackbird" featuring nice bass lines from Luques Curtis who splits the bass work on the album with David Finck

A taste of the Latin style, a measure of hard bop with a touch of mainstream and a slice of standards makes Bill O'Connell's Rhapsody In Blue a varied musical project,t offering enough from across the jazz spectrum to please just about everyone.

Track Listing: Monk's Cha-Cha; Pocket Change; Rhapsody In Blue; It Never Entered My Mind; J-Man; Off-Center; Two Worlds; Log-A-Rhythm; Rose Hill; Bye Bye Blackbird.

Personnel: Bill O'Connell: piano; Luques Curtis: bass (1, 6-8, 10); David Finck: bass (2-5); Steve Berrios: drums; Steve Slagle: alto saxophone (1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9), soprano saxophone (4, 7); Richie Flores: percussion (1, 3); Dave Samuels: vibraphone (1, 3); Conrad Herwig: trombone (5).

Title: Rhapsody In Blue | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Challenge Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Troy Collins
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Live In The South Bronx" CD/LP/Track Review Live In The South Bronx
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Poetry For The Beat Generation" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry For The Beat Generation
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello" CD/LP/Track Review Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello
by John Eyles
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "Lubbock (on everything)" CD/LP/Track Review Lubbock (on everything)
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "Light Shines In" CD/LP/Track Review Light Shines In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!