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Bill O’Connell: Latin Jazz Fantasy
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Bill O’Connell: Latin Jazz Fantasy

- CD Reviews

Bill O’Connell: Latin Jazz Fantasy
2003 Random Chance Records

Bill O’Connell on Piano
Bob Malach on Tenor Sax and Clarinet
Dave Valentin on Flutes
Steve Berrios on Drums and Percussion
Kim Plainfield on Drums
Myra Casales on Percussion
Milton Cardona on Percussion
David Fink on Bass
Charles Fambrough on Bass
Lincoln Goines on Bass
Randy Brecker on Trumpet
Barry Donelian on Tumpet and Flugelhorn
Mike Migliore on Alto Sax
Roger Rosenberg on Baritone Sax
Richard Sortomme, Sara Schwartz, Suzanne Ornstein, Robin Bushmun, Robert Chausow, Barry Finclair, on Violins,
and Arthur Fiacco and Stephanie Cummins on celli

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 25, 2005

All songs composed and arranged by Bill O’Connell. This is an excellent example of Latin Jazz fusion, plus fusion of numerous strings, horns, piano, reeds, and percussion, including Latin percussion and celli. The mixing is extraordinary, as strings have prominent solos, rather than faint background enhancements. This is obviously a major collaborative venture, assisted by renowned musicians, such as Dave Valentin, Randy Brecker, and Myra Casales.

Notable tracks:

#1 –Barcelona – With Dave Valentin on flute, Bob Malach on clarinet, David Fink on bass, Kim Plainfield on drums, Milton Cardona on congas and chekere, and a full complement of horns and strings, Barcelona blows in with punctuated pizzazz. Congas open the piece, on the heels of eerie strings and a plaintive sax, and O’Connell keeps a clavé piano beat.

#4 –Latin Jazz Fantasy – With Valentin on flute, O’Connell on piano, Fink on bass, Steve Berrios on drums and congas, and full horn and string sections, this title piece is more esoteric than exotic. At times it seems the strings are superfluous, but then they seem to create an interesting thematic echo.

#8 –Wind It Up – With Lincoln Goines on electric bass, Plainfield on drums, and Casales on Latin percussion, O’Connell winds in and out of this fused work with repetitive flourishes, as well as leads. There’s a powerful horn solo, with a final fused ending on split timing.

#10 –El Yunque – With Valentin on a very consistent flute, Fink on bass, Plainfield on drums, Casales on Latin percussion, Cardona on congas, and full strings, this brief work, if extended, could be the score for an interesting modern dance choreography. O’Connell seems to be a prolific composer arranger.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at