Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bill O'Connell

Bill O'Connell -Rhapsody in Blue-Challenge
    The wonderous thing about pianist Bill O'Connell is that dispite his latin baptismal he is an all purpose mainstream jazz cat. This latest offering proves the point. O'Connell sets the record straight with some straigh ahead grooves from start to finish. From the boisterous opener Monk's Cha-Cha to the bare knuckled 'Pocket Change', these tunes set the stage for an exciting disc through and trhough.
    O'Connell has enlisted a bunch of his running buddies in Dave Samuels; Richie Flores; Conrad Herwig, who only guests on the cut J-Man; Steve Berrios; a new name to these ears in bassist Luques Curtis sharing bass duties along with David Finck (who name was mysteriously omitted from the back CD cover); and the firey Steve Slagle, saxes. It is Slagle who gives a poingnant soprano offering on the lovely ballad, 'It Never Entered My Mind'. Don't think I've heard one done on soprano before. The cut J-Man is perhaps the disc's hippest groove swinger. This is a tight discs from beginning to end. This has got to be Bill O'Connell's working band. If no it outta be.
O'Connell, piano; Luques Curtis & Dave Finck, bass; Steve Berrios,perc; Steve Slagle, saxes; Richie Flores, perc; Dave Samuels,vibes, Conrad Herwig,tb.

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