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 Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Introverted Cultures CD/LP/Track Review
Introverted Cultures
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Flyway CD/LP/Track Review
Flyway
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Crime Zone CD/LP/Track Review
Crime Zone
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Begin the Agora CD/LP/Track Review
Begin the Agora
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Time Like This CD/LP/Track Review
Time Like This
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Spavati, Mozda Sanjati" CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Shifting Standards" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Standards
by Paul Rauch
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "If You Really Want" CD/LP/Track Review If You Really Want
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "Shadow Work" CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Thicker Than Water" CD/LP/Track Review Thicker Than Water
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 13, 2018
Read "Humanities" CD/LP/Track Review Humanities
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 30, 2018