Every album this bandleader puts out is a world of splendor in and of itself, from Zócalo’s exotic sonic locales in 2013 to Imagine’s re-orchestrated Latin-bop just a little over a year ago.
Now, the pianist/composer and his Latin Jazz All-Stars have Heart Beat, another winner coming out on January 15, 2016 (Savant Records).
It’s opening night, mid-week, mid-recession, early pandemic. A sparse but good-natured crowd has gathered at the Jazz Bakery to see Triple Play, a Latin jazz trio featuring pianist Bill O’Connell, flutist Dave Valentin and percussionist Munyungo Jackson. O’Connell and Valentin have been playing together for nearly thirty years, but the first set at a new venue is always a feeling out process. Sound, spacing, acoustics, all come into play, as well as integrating the talented Jackson, with his full arsenal of congas, timbales, cow bells and more.
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.