Bill O'Connell: Triple Play


Sign in to view read count
Bill O'Connell: Triple Play Pianist/Composer Bill O'Connell has long been a vital part of the New York Jazz scene. It is refreshing to see that he is given a rare opportunity to lead an ensemble on Triple Play, an unusual trio setting for O'Connell along with flutist Dave Valentin and Latin percussionist Richie Flores.

O'Connell has only been given this opportunity sporadically and his efforts are preserved on indie labels, Inner City, CTI and two sessions for Random Chance. The pianist has worked with a wide variety of musicians but has expressed a preference for a Latin jazz ambiance and was with Mongo Santamaria for more than two years beginning in 1977. O'Connell has been the musical director for Dave Valentin for more than two decades.

The enjoyment of listening to Triple Play is to hear the cohesiveness of these three musicians as they convene on an inspired Latin jazz session. In his liner notes Felipe Luciano suggests the difference between Latin jazz and jazz Latino. In jazz Latino, the music is a result of the harmonies of big band jazz and bebop while Latin Jazz is a music form that plays for the dancer and requires that the listener must pay attention to hear the music without forgetting the "The tradition of the clave in one's inner ear." Not a bad suggestion at all for this album inasmuch as there is a lot of musical room and space in this ensemble that only employs piano/flute/congas.

The music on this album is provided by five originals from O'Connell, one from Valentin, two standards, a Milton Nascimento tune and a jazz standard from Mongo Santamaria. It is indeed difficult to say which instrument contributes the most to this session which is probably the most positive sign of any finished album. Flores, an accomplished but little publicized Latin percussionist, shows his versatility throughout the album and plays the cajón on "Machu Picchu," enlivens on timbales on two tracks and on congas elsewhere. Flores appears in a duet with O'Connell on Santamaria's "Afro Blue" and lays out on "Dansette" which is an O'Connell/Valentin duet.

Dave Valentin is probably one of the most popular jazz flutists today although many may categorize much of his music as stemming from a smooth jazz preference. Be that as it may, Valentin has done for Latin jazz what Herbie Mann accomplished for the genre during the 1950s and '60s and on his most recent efforts, Come Fly With Me (HighNote, 2006) and World on a String (HighNote, 2005) the vibe is strictly mainstream Latin jazz.

Ultimately the above observations can be shelved while listening to Triple Play as O'Connell and company let the music speak for itself.

Track Listing: Triple Play; Flying By; Machu Picchu; A Call for Sanity, Just In Time; Second Son; Cravo E Canela; You've Changed; Afro Blue; Dansette.

Personnel: Bill O'Connell: piano; Dave Valentin: flute, alto flute; Richie Flores: congas, cajón (3), timbales (6, 10).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: HighNote Records | Style: Latin/World


More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Eleven Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Promises
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "El Viaje" CD/LP/Track Review El Viaje
by James Nadal
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "In For The Out" CD/LP/Track Review In For The Out
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Godspeed" CD/LP/Track Review Godspeed
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!