by Tom Haugen
Bill O’Connell And The Afro Caribbean Ensemble
Wind Off The Hudson
A 40 year veteran to jazz and Latin sounds, Bill O’Connell is in great company here as The Afro Caribbean Ensemble make their recording debut on this complicated and timeless collection or covers and originals.
The title track starts the affair with playful keys and plenty of festive rhythm in the graceful yet frisky opener, and “Gospel 6” follows with a more subdued exploration of the immense talent present, as horns become front and center.
Further on, “I Don’t Have An Answer” has the mood shifting to contemplative on the breezy, calming jazz highlight, while “Perdido” recruits a soulful shuffle to the cultured fun.
Near the end, “C Jam Blues” indeed brings a blues spirit to the intoxicating interplay between the instruments, and “Discombobulation” ends the record with acrobatics keys and meticulous sax playing in a strong exit to a powerful, sophisticated album.
Even though O’Connell is the leader, he gives much space to trumpets, trombones, congos and flutes, as the entire ensemble rework several classics in their thriving and enthralling vision. Fans of jazz and Latin music with plenty of brass on hand will find much to adore on Wind Off The Hudson.
Travels well with: Eddie Palmieri– Mi Luz Mayor ; Tito Puente– Lo Mato