Bill O’connell

The veteran post-bop/Latin Jazz/Hard Bop pianist from New York City is Bill O’Connell. He should not be confused, however, with the swing/bop drummer, who led the Chicago Skyliners Big Band in Chicago in the ’90s. O’Connell should also not be confused or confused with rock manager Billy O’Connell. Kristin Hersh was formerly part of alternative pop/rock band Throwing Muses. O’Connell is a pianist with a lot of Latin experience. He has performed with Jerry Gonzalez’s Fort Apache Band in New York, as well as with Dave Valentin, an Argentinean tenor saxophonist, and Mongo Santamaria, a Cuban percussionist. O’Connell is not a sole Latin jazz player. Over the years, O’Connell has been a sideman for many other artists, including the late trumpeter Chet Baker and Sonny Rollins, the tenor saxophonist. O’Connell’s lyrical style is reminiscent of Chick Corea, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett as a pianist. O’Connell isn’t a jazzman who sees himself only as a soloist. His albums highlight his abilities as an arranger and bandleader as well as composer. O’Connell is able to use his band as an instrument, as Duke Ellington used it. O’Connell won’t be able to become a full-time trio piano player. He has too much bandleader mentality. O’Connell shares a bandleader/arranger perspective with Windy City drummer, who was also the Chicago Skyliners Big Band’s head. However, stylistically they are two very different artists. Bill O’Connell is influenced greatly by Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, and is keenly aware of the big bands from the ’30s, ’40s. Pianist O’Connell, meanwhile, gets a lot of his bandleading/arranging inspiration from Latin greats like Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Machito, Ray Barretto, and Eddie Palmieri (all of whom are identified with Afro-Cuban jazz as well as salsa). Lost Voices Pianist O’Connell was born in New York City, August 22, 1953. He grew up in suburban Port Washington on Long Island. O’Connell studied classical piano in high school at Oberlin College, Ohio. He has been a resident of New York for most of his adult life. O’Connell, a leader, has recorded occasionally over the years. He recorded Searching in 1978 for the small Inner City label. In 1993, Lost Voices was recorded for Creed Taylor’s CTI Records. Taylor served as producer. O’Connell stopped recording as a leader after that. He signed with Random Chance Records, a small New York-based record label with a love for blues and jazz. O’Connell’s 2001 debut album, Black Sand, was released by Random Chance. Latin Jazz Fantasy was recorded in 2003, and was released in 2004.

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