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Mongo Santamaria

Pianist Bill O'Connell

REVIEW: Bill O'Connell and the Latin Jazz All-Stars, 'Heart Beat,' Savant Records >>

Bill O'Connell learned his lessons in the bands of Mongo Santamaria, Dave Valentin, Sonny Rollins and Chet Baker. His three Savant Records CDs explored jazz, salsa and samba in duo, trio and larger band contexts, but they now have to be seen as but a prelude to 'Heart Beat,' a masterwork of percolating percussion and memorable melodic strains that add drama and more syncopation than you can shake a stick at on seven originals and two blistering covers.

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