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Album Review

In addition to being one of the United States' top jazz cities, Los Angeles is also a strong center for Latin music. It therefore is quite logical that pianist Bill Cunliffe, a flexible and an always musically curious player, would put together a group of top local musicians to perform a stirring set of Afro-Cuban jazz. Cunliffe and his tentet perform five of his originals, a Steely Dan song, an obscurity, and three standards. All of the horn players, four top brassmen and the versatile Bob Sheppard on reeds, have solo space and the rhythm section is consistently burning. Even though much of the material is unfamiliar, these renditions are quite accessible, swinging, and heated. Fans of both Latin jazz and hard bop will find plenty to enjoy on this spirited outing.


Born: June 26, 1956 in Lawrence, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the more promising pianists based in the L.A. area, Bill Cunliffe has been careful to have each of his recordings display its own personality. He won the 1989 Thelonious Monk jazz piano award, for a time led the fusion band Porcupine, works with Natalie Cole and in the studios, and is a regular member of both the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quartet. Cunliffe's recordings for Discovery have included A Paul Simon Songbook (on which he turned a dozen of...
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Imaginacion, Bill Cunliffe
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