All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

250

Bill O'Connell: Rhapsody in Blue

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
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 congas and timbales during the closing sequence.

After O'Connell and Flores provide a false sense of calmness, the title track shifts into high gear, with Slagle again leading on alto. The work of Flores, bassist David Finck and Steve Berrios gives this arrangement a strong salsa flavor. O'Connell gives just enough of the familiar phrases to make clear that this is a Gershwin piece, but the performance is fresh.

Trombonist Conrad Herwig joins the ensemble for "J-Man." Dedicated to O'Connell's son, Jesse, this piece has a harder edge than most, and Herwig's throaty playing enhances that mood. Berrios stretches out plenty behind the solo, punching in some emphatic cymbal crashes for effect. Trombone and alto sax blend on the melody.

Rhapsody in Blue is O'Connell's project, but each musician is a major contributor. Regardless of who is playing lead or solo, there's never a moment when the sidemen can be overlooked. With Slagle on alto or soprano, each song has the feel of a little-big band—more so than a small ensemble led by an instrumentalist. With approximately 70 minutes of music, there is plenty of space for all the musicians.

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

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Monk's Cha Cha

Monk's Cha Cha

Savant Records
2017

buy
Imagine

Imagine

Savant Records
2014

buy
Zócalo

Zócalo

Savant Records
2013

buy
Rhapsody In Blue

Rhapsody In Blue

Challenge Records
2011

buy
Rhapsody In Blue

Rhapsody In Blue

Challenge Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Vol II CD/LP/Track Review
Vol II
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Months, Weeks and Days CD/LP/Track Review
Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Space Is The Place CD/LP/Track Review
Space Is The Place
by James Fleming
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Poetry in Motion CD/LP/Track Review
Poetry in Motion
by Liz Goodwin
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read "Bismuth" CD/LP/Track Review Bismuth
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "Glassbath" CD/LP/Track Review Glassbath
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 6, 2018
Read "Time for the Dancers" CD/LP/Track Review Time for the Dancers
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 30, 2017
Read "The Lovers card" CD/LP/Track Review The Lovers card
by James Nadal
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Mu'U" CD/LP/Track Review Mu'U
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 6, 2017