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August 14th, 2023

Bill O’Connell – Live in Montauk (Savant)

Pianist Bill O’Connell is largely known for leading some pretty excellent Latin Jazz ensembles. On his latest, Live in Montauk, he eschews the Afro-Cuban sounds for a more straight ahead approach. Joining him on this quest is an excellent band, with Craig Handy on the saxophone, Santi Debriano on bass and Billy Hart on drums. And just to sweeten the deal a little, Randy Brecker plays trumpet on a couple of tracks, too. The album starts off with a tango arrangement of Ellington’s “Do Nothing ‘Til You Hear From Me,” and it’s as charming as that might sound. The insistent dance groove inspires Brecker, Handy and O’Connell to take some fun and engaging solos. On “Moanin’,” O’Connell’s twist on the song makes it fresh once again, and with a lead-off solo from O’Connell, it quickly develops a head of steam worth repeated listenings.

Mike Jones Trio – Are You Sure You Three Guys Know What You’re Doing? (Capri)

Mike Jones is an excellent pianist who spends most of his time these days as Penn & Teller’s musical accompanist, playing before they hit the stage, and during the show as well. Penn Jillette is a world renowned magician and has become a solid bassist in his own right, playing with Jones with some frequency. On their last album, The Show Before The Show, they showed off their musical chemistry on a quite charming disc. Now, on Are You Sure You Three Guys Know What You’re Doing?, the legendary drummer Jeff Hamilton is added to the mix, and the results are exactly what you’d expect. Things are swinging throughout on eleven standards and one from Jones’ pen. “Doxy,” “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Perdido” are just good fun, and when the tempo comes down on “You’ve Changed,” these three sound gorgeous.

Dave Goldberg – The Other Side (Tritone Records)

Saxophonist Dave Goldberg has a new album out called The Other Side, featuring organist Joe Bagg and drummer Adam Nussbaum. Goldberg handles the writing and arranging throughout the disc, and he covers a lot of ground over the course of 10 songs. Starting off with a grooving Jazz Waltz, “A Familiar Something,” things get cooking quickly. “The Other Side” gets us some abstract funk, and “Thank You Very Monk” jumps right out of the speakers.

Jammin Jazz
McAninch Arts Center