Bill O’Connell is reviewed by Jazzweekly


Bill O’Connell and the Afro Caribbean Ensemble: Wind Off the Hudson

Pianist, composer and arranger, Bill O’Connell puts together a semi-big band for some scintillating pulsations of his own and modern jazz tunes. The formidable horn team of Andrea Brachfeld/fl, Craig Handy/ss-as, Ralph Bowen/ts, Gary Smulyan/bs, Alex Sipiagin/tp-fh and Conrad Herwig/rb is propelled by Lincoln Goines/b, Robby Ameen/dr, Roman Diaz/cong and the leader in exciting fashion. Some clever ideas pop up with the band taking some John Coltrane material like “Transition” and giving it some snap and riffing horns lead by Handy’s soprano, while some Ellingtonia gets goosed on “C Jam Blues” with some sizzling percussion and “Perdido” has some post modern blowing by Smulyan.  Rich flutes get hip on “Oye Como Va” with O’Connell tapping into his inner McCoy Tyner as he opens up on “Got Cha.” Some dreamy moods take place with Brachfeld and Herwig on “I Don’t Have The Answer” and the team gets Monkish on the fun “Jerry’s Blues.” Since the days of Jelly Roll Morton, the “Latin Tinge” has been an integral part of jazz, and O’Connell keeps the flame alive here.

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