Exploring The Art Of The Trio With Bill O’Connell & Triple Play

by chipboaz on January 5, 2017

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The art of the trio holds so much more than we might expect, and a jazz setting is the perfect place to explore it. Jazz trios often follow an instrumental combination that has been long been established as a standard – piano, bass, and drums. A number of pianists in the straight-ahead jazz world have established influential approaches to jazz in this context, including folks like Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, and so many more. This set-up is not uncommon in Latin Jazz as well, although sometimes the drum kit is substituted by congueros. Groups led by Michel Camilo, Bebo Valdés, and more have led the way in this trio format. While it may be the standard, the piano-bass-drum setting is only the beginning; the art of the trio holds more potential than that.

Pianist Bill O’Connell has spent a good deal of time exploring the Latin Jazz trio with his group Triple Play. The standard format for this group includes O’Connell on piano, Dave Valentin on flute, and Richie Flores on congas. It’s a fantastic collection of musicians that bring a wealth of Latin Jazz skills and experience into the mix; they’ve also played with each other extensively so there’s a wealth of interplay. The lack of a bass player really allows O’Connell a lot of harmonic and rhythmic freedom, opening new doors for both Valentin and Flores. O’Connell hasn’t stopped there though – through a variety of albums, he’s mixed up the trio setting to create combinations that include Paquito D’Rivera on clarinet, Dave Samuels on vibraphone, and more. Today’s video features O’Connell’s standard Triple Play line-up with Valentin and Flores, showing us the true art of the trio.

Do you have a Latin Jazz video to share? E-mail a link to latinjazzcorner@gmail.com

Check out recent Latin Jazz videos:
Alberto Nacif & Aguankó Performing La Bicicleta
Manuel Valera And The New Cuban Express Performing Live
Antonio Carlos Jobim & Herbie Hancock Performing Wave
Oscar Hernandez Quintet Performs Timeshift
Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, & Sal Cuevas Playing Picadillo

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