Bill O’Connell is reviewed by The Aquarian Weekly

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by Mike Greenblatt

Native New Yorker Bill O’Connell helped pioneer Latin Jazz in the nineteen-seventies when he joined Cuban conga player Mongo Santamaria in his groundbreaking salsa band. Over the next four decades, he went on to play in the bands of Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, and even did a stint of Brazilian samba music with Astrud Gilberto, all the while composing, arranging, and playing piano on his own series of solo efforts. Now comes Wind Off The Hudson (Savant Records), the delicious new album by Bill O’Connell and the Afro Caribbean Ensemble, wherein his smokin’ 10-piece band—piano, flute, alto flute, alto sax, soprano sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, trumpet, flugelhorn, electric bass, drums and congas—make exquisitely joyful noise on material by Tito Puente (“Oye Como Va,” the song Santana brought to the rock crowd), John Coltrane (“Transition”), six originals, and two Ellington updates. Wholeheartedly recommended.

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