MICHAEL O'NEILL — The Michael O'Neill Quartet : And Then It Rained (review)

MICHAEL O'NEILL — The Michael O'Neill Quartet : And Then It Rained album cover Album · 2020 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
js
“And then it Rained” is saxophonist Michael O’Neill’s fifth album, but it is his first to not feature a vocalist, nor any standards. “Rained” is an all instrumental outing for his quartet, and every tune is an O’Neill original. Michael is a San Francisco Bay Area veteran and has been active in local clubs and restaurants for close to two decades. On this first CD of all originals, Mike performs on alto, tenor and soprano saxophone, as well as clarinet. O’Neill’s playing can be very clean, buoyant and precise, sometimes recalling Paul Desmond or Cannonball Adderly. He is also apt to slyly throw in some well known Charlie Parker clichés and probably gained influence from his one time teacher, Joe Henderson. Michael Bluestein almost steals the spotlight on piano with well constructed and intense solos that show influence from McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Latin jazz and classical romanticism. Its hard to believe this guy is actually the keyboardist for Foreigner. Apparently several months out of the year he is ‘hot blooded’, and you can ‘check it and see’. Dan Feiszli is a melodic bassist who takes the forefront occasionally and drummer Jason Lewis provides good pocket and groove, as well as an ability to free things up if the band heads that way.

Some recommended tracks include up tempo Latin numbers such as “One for Kenny” and “Maverick’s Samba”. Bill Evans styled impressionism is featured on “Early Spring”, while title track “And then it Rained” features a cool modal groove jam. Free flowing post bop rides like “Four Cornered Circle” and “Suite Iris” allow Jason to get his ‘Elvin Jones’ on.
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