A native New Yorker who studied classical music at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Early in his career, he played in various salsa and jazz settings that set the tone for his musical style.
In 1977, he joined salsa great Mongo Santamaria, writing and performing with him for over two years. Following that he worked with Chet Baker and jazz legend Sonny Rollins with whom he toured the United States and Europe. In 1982, he joined Latin jazz flutist Dave Valentin, and they have been touring the world together ever since, performing before enthusiastic audiences everywhere.
Bill, an internationally recognized composer, has his original compositions on CDs by Mongo Santamaria, Emily Remler, Charles Fambrough, and on virtually every recording made by flutist Dave Valentin. One of Valentin's most requested songs, "Oasis", which was recorded by the GRP Allstars for the CD, "GRP Live in Session", is one of Bill's original compositions.
Bill's most recent recordings have been for the Random Chance label. "Black Sand," The Bill O'Connell Latin Jazz Project, was released in September 2001 and featured Dave Valentin, Randy Brecker, Andy Gonzalez, Steve Berrios and others. This C.D. received critical acclaim and climbed to #5 on the national jazz radio chart.
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