For this celebration of Latin jazz, pianist Bill O’Connell partners with legendary reed man Paquito d’ Rivera (who burst to fame during his years with Latin fusion band Irakere), Richie Flores (congas), Dave Samuels (vibes) and Dave Valentin (flute). Together, they take listeners on a very intense musical journey.
Among the highlights is an interesting take on “’Round Midnight,” the classic Thelonious Monk tune that has been recreated by various artists through the years. D’Rivera takes the lead on the main melody, while O’Connell and Flores provide a solid backup that includes a few smart Afro-Cuban piano riffs. Another great moment comes with “Speak Low,” a tune that traditionally already has a Latin vibe. Here it is played just with O’Connell and Flores, who perform at double time–a challenge for both performers, who find the space among a flurry of notes and beats to get the message through. Also worth checking out is “Crazy Samba,” which features Valentin’s fine flute work.
Triple Play is the kind of album that warrants repeated hearings in order to understand its complexities and nuances. O’Connell and Flores have great chemistry together, and their guests shine during their appearances. (Ernest Barteldes)
“Triple Play Plus Three”