Triple Play – a superb trio of Latin jazz veterans comprised of Bill O’Connell on piano, Dave Valentin on flute and Richie Flores on percussion – performed in the Emerson Auditorium at Union College’s Taylor Music Center in Schenectady twice on Wednesday.
The first was the mid-afternoon workshop/presentation “Music of Latin America,” and the second was an evening concert performance showcasing selections from their lovely 2008 Savant recording, “Bill O’Connell: Triple Play with David Valentin & Richie Flores.”
Organized and introduced by Union music professor Tim Olsen, the well-attended afternoon event featured a fast-paced mix of songs, compositional information and technical instrument presentations.
O’Connell started the ball rolling by introducing a “Salsa and Beans”-type composition “Obsessione,” as the spirited trio traveled through several Latin music idioms including Brazilian, Peruvian and Puerto Rican.
All three men displayed a great passion for the music and an incredible virtuosic interplay brought on only by shared experience. Valentin and O’Connell have collaborated with each other on their own individual projects and recordings for almost 30 years. Both have also played together in the bands of Latin jazz legends Mongo Santamaria and Gato Barbieri, among others. And Flores has played with the two of them for half as many years, although as Triple Play, the trio has been together for about two years.
Throughout the afternoon, Valentin’s flute soared over percussionist Flores’ percolating beats while O’Connell added rhythmic melody to the tunes. Even the audience joined in by clapping to the rhythm of a Puerto Rican “Clave!”
Photographs and review by Andrzej Pilarczyk