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Bill O’Connell Latin Jazz Project: Black Sand

Bill O’Connell’s stints with Gato Barbieri, Dave Valentin and others have helped the pianist hone a sizable reputation that equals his 6-foot 5-inch frame. On Black Sand he blends Afro-Cuban and Brazilian styles with a well-rounded jazz vocabulary.

Known for his electronic keyboard work, O’Connell opts to play entirely on acoustic piano on Black Sand. His original compositions are presented in a variety of combinations here: trios with trap drummer Steve Berrios and bassist Andy Gonzalez; ensembles with Randy Brecker (trumpet) and Joe Ford (soprano/alto sax), who swing the title-track; and Cuban folklore on “Obakoso,” which features percussionist Milton Cardona playing the beaded-gourd chekere and singing a Santeria prayer.

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