Bill O'Connell

Chris Tobin / WBGO

When pianist Bill O’Connell finished his schooling at Oberlin, he returned home to New York City and got to work right away with Mongo Santamaria.

Bill would go on to play with Sonny Rollins and Chet Baker, too, but his love of Latin, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music would draw him closer. His passion for jazz with Latin seasoning led him to work with Jerry Gonzalez, Papo Vazquez — and, in a long and fruitful association, flutist Dave Valentin.