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Bebop - Released July 26, 2019 | Savant

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Bebop - Released April 24, 2018 | Savant

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Jazz - Released September 27, 2017 | Albore Jazz

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Bebop - Released January 15, 2016 | Savant

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Jazz - Released June 1, 2004 | Random Chance, Inc.

Historically, the term Latin jazz has been used to describe a mixture of hard bop or post-bop and Afro-Cuban rhythms (son, cha-cha, mambo, guaguancó, danzón, etc.). But Latin music is more than Afro-Cuban music; it's also everything from Argentinean tango to Spanish flamenco to Mexican mariachi. So technically, someone who fuses jazz with tango or flamenco (or Brazilian samba, for that matter) is playing some form of Latin jazz. The Latin Jazz Fantasy that pianist Bill O'Connell shares with listeners on this 2003 date is primarily an Afro-Cuban jazz fantasy -- and yet, Latin Jazz Fantasy isn't stereotypical Afro-Cuban jazz in the way that Tito Puente, Poncho Sanchez, Cal Tjader, Eddie Palmieri, and Mongo Santamaria have epitomized Afro-Cuban jazz. Latin Jazz Fantasy doesn't contain any bolero versions of "My Funny Valentine"; O'Connell doesn't provide son, cha-cha, or mambo arrangements of Sonny Rollins or Miles Davis pieces. Leading a variety of post-bop groups -- sometimes a lavish orchestra, sometimes trios, duos, quartets, or quintets -- O'Connell doesn't beat listeners over the head with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Instead, he applies them in a very subtle fashion on original material that ranges from the cerebral "Wind It Up" to the melancholy "After the Dust Settled" to the playfully funky "Fast Eddie" (which has a definite Weather Report/Joe Zawinul influence and underscores the fact that fusion can affect acoustic-oriented post-bop projects -- at least compositionally). O'Connell incorporates Afro-Cuban music the way he incorporates European classical: with restraint, understatement, and subtlety. Anyone who expects Latin Jazz Fantasy to use Afro-Cuban rhythms in as overt and obvious a way as a typical Sanchez album is bound to be disappointed, but for those who appreciate and understand the album's overall concept -- post-bop with subtle Euro-classical and Latin references -- Latin Jazz Fantasy is easy to enjoy. ~ Alex Henderson
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Jazz - Released September 3, 2010 | Challenge Records

3 stars out of 5 -- "He's got a terrific band here; its members deliver consistently solid solos and play written lines in tight sync."
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Bebop - Released February 24, 2017 | Savant

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Bebop - Released September 24, 2013 | Savant

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Jazz - Released September 9, 2011 | Random Chance, Inc.

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Bebop - Released April 15, 2008 | Savant

Bill O'Connell's seventh CD as a leader is full of catchy themes in a Jazz Latino (as opposed to Latin jazz) setting, according to liner note writer Felipe Luciano. The pianist, who is well accompanied by flutist Dave Valentin and Latin percussionist Richie Flores, starts off with his intense, driving "Triple Play." Things cool with the hip, infectious "Flying By," with Valentin's playful flute dancing over O'Connell's soulful Latin groove. The pianist's "A Call for Sanity" has a wistful air with Valentin switching to alto flute, while "Second Son" is a sauntering gem with its share of surprising twists. O'Connell also engages each player in a duet. Flores is his partner for a ridiculously fast romp through the standard "Just in Time," as the pianist tears into the piece with a well-disguised improvised introduction. Valentin is on hand for the slow, rhapsodic treatment of Mongo Santamaria's signature tune, "Afro Blue," though the familiar rhythm is omitted, opting instead to emphasize the melody in a more free-form manner. However one labels the style of jazz featured in Triple Play, there's no doubt that this CD will stand the test of time. ~ Ken Dryden
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Latin America - Released September 6, 2011 | Zoho

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Bebop - Released October 21, 2014 | Savant

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Jazz - Released May 20, 2014 | Posi-Tone Records