All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

160

Bill O'Connell: Triple Play Plus Three

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
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 alto flute feature ("Lake Road") and an energetic romp dedicated to the great Eddie Palmieri ("Mr. E.P."), but elsewhere, his position is assumed by two equally elite Latin jazz musicians.

Vibraphonist Dave Samuels and Paquito D'Rivera, who keeps his saxophone in its case here and sticks to clarinet, take turns filling Valentin's vacated post, and they both bring something fresh and different to this format. Samuels' solos place him front and center in the mix, but his ensemble play is all about blending into the overall musical mesh. Whether coasting through an unhurried, odd-metered blues ("Bill's Blues") or fighting his way through an up-tempo muscle-flexing number ("Non-Sense"), Samuels always knows when to say his piece or simply step back into the shadows.

D'Rivera's two appearances aren't nearly enough, but they paint O'Connell as one who believes in the "always leave them wanting more" mindset. "Sweet Sophie Rose"—named after O'Connell's daughter—is a lively number that manages to showcase all three men as soloists, while also highlighting the strong rapport shared between them as a single unit, and their take on "'Round Midnight" rivals the best of them.

While the A-list artists that occupy the rotating spot may help to bring attention to this album, the connection between O'Connell and Flores is really at the heart of this project. Both men view rhythm as a language unto itself, rather than a subtext for presenting melody, and they don't need a third person to help them prove it. O'Connell and Flores go at it mano a mano on what may be the most rhythmically potent "Speak Low" that has ever been recorded, and it proves to be one of the standout tracks on the album.

While Double Play Plus One At A Time would have a been a more accurate title for this album, splitting hairs over the fuzzy math in the title threatens to take attention away from this wonderful music, and that would be a true shame.

Track Listing: Sweet Sophie Rose; Bill's Blues; Crazy Samba; 'Round Midnight; Non-Sense; Lake Road; Cobblestones; Speak Low; Mr. EP; La Playa.

Personnel: Bill O'Connell: piano; Richie Flores: congas; Paquito D' Rivera: clarinet (1, 4); Dave Samuels: vibraphone (2, 5, 7, 10); Dave Valentin: flute (3, 9), alto flute (6).

Title: Triple Play Plus Three | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Zoho Music

Tags

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 "YAZZ Band" CD/LP/Track Review YAZZ Band
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 28, 2018
Read "Works for Two Chapels" CD/LP/Track Review Works for Two Chapels
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "FABEL" CD/LP/Track Review FABEL
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 12, 2018
Read "Ariel" CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "NPO Trio - Live at the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review NPO Trio - Live at the Stone
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 10, 2018
Read "Bright Force" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018