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Album Review

Pianist Bill O'Connell presents the debut of his Latin Jazz Project, which mainly features bassists Andy Gonzalez and Charles Fambrough, drummer Steve Berrios, and percussionist Milton Cardona. Alto and soprano saxophonist Joe Ford appears on four tracks and is quite marvelous on "Trepidation"; other notable guests include trumpeter Randy Brecker (on "Black Sand" and "Kidz") and flutist Dave Valentin (on "Blue Brazil"). O'Connell's tunes are richly melodic and harmonically involved, not to mention beautifully recorded. The bouncy, knotty complexity of his piano playing sometimes brings Chick Corea to mind. Only with the finale, a funky reading of Cole Porter's "It's Alright With Me," does O'Connell depart from original material. While the program grows a bit repetitive at times, there are a number of remarkable cuts, such as the opening, hard-swinging "Latin Jazz," the vocal chant-based "Obakoso" (co-written with Cardona), the stripped-down piano/chekere piece "Fire Dance," and the perversely off-kilter "Son of a Montuno." (It would seem that "Iguana," with its title and its familiar funk vamp, is a knowing nod to Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon.") ~ David R. Adler, Rovi


Genre: Jazz

b. William Francis O’Connell, 22 August 1953, New York City, New York, USA. Raised in Port Washington, Long Island, O’Connell studied piano with his uncle, Bill Wisnewski, while still in school, then went on to study piano and composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He also studied for a year with Richie Beirach in New York City. From the late 70s and through the early 80s, he worked in sometimes-exalted company, including spending two years with Mongo Santamaría and a year each with Chet...
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Black Sand, Bill O'Connell Latin Jazz Project
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