Joey DeFrancesco fondly remembers his work with legendary record producer Rudy Van Gelder ever since the keyboardist’s second release as a leader in 1990. “I could not resist the sound he would get on those Blue Note records and Prestige records,” the organist recalls. “And we hit it off. Everything was cool, man.” Joey D returned to Van Gelder’s revered studio for work on his 2012 release, “Wonderful! Wonderful!” When it was time to make his new CD, “One for Rudy,” he knew not only that he wanted to record again with Van Gelder, but that he wanted to do the whole project explicitly for Van Gelder. Many of the tunes were chosen from the Van Gelder catalog, including classics by Miles Davis, Gene Ammons and Sonny Rollins.
For years, the go-to pianist and arranger for such artists as Mongo Santamaria, Dave Valentin, Gato Barbieri, the Fort Apache Band and others, Bill O’Connell, has perhaps more than any other pianist developed a true melding of Latin and jazz music. His own playing—from its robust chordal comping to its exuberant and sometime knotty solos—combines rhythmic complexities with glittering single note runs in a sort of Bud Powell-meets-Chick Corea vibe. With Latin-tinged trombone great Conrad Herwig, O’Connell provides a thoughtful program of originals and a few re-imagined standards on his new disc, “Zocalo.” Saxophonist Steve Slagle, percussion legend Richie Flores and his regular rhythm section make up his Latin Jazz All-Stars on this joyous romp filled with energy and high spirits.
Also this week, drummer Gerry Gibbs is joined by jazz legends Kenny Barron piano and Ron Carter on bass as “Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio”; vocalists Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler team up for some “West Coast Cool”; and contemporary jazz giants Spyro Gyro mark 35 years of recordings with their latest, “The Rhinebeck Sessions.”