Home » Jazz Articles » Bill O'Connell: A Change Is Gonna Come


Album Review

Bill O'Connell: A Change Is Gonna Come


Sign in to view read count
Bill O'Connell: A Change Is Gonna Come
Pianist Bill O'Connell, who has been at the top of his game for more than four decades with no signs of slowing down, says each of his albums is a snapshot of how he is feeling at a particular time in his life. A Change Is Gonna Come expresses O'Connell's frame of mind after enduring more than two years of the Coronavirus pandemic. By and large, the mood is optimistic, underscoring his belief that the worst of the pandemic could be in the rear view mirror.

O'Connell wrote seven of the album's ten numbers, and they traverse the spectrum from bright to brooding, upbeat to meditative. At the keyboard, O'Connell's approach is sharp and percussive but never devoid of lyricism or awareness. The Latin blueprint for which he is best known is usually close at hand and ready to be applied. To help keep things interesting, O'Connell varies the group size and instrumentation, using saxophonist Craig Handy on five tracks, percussionist Pedrito Martinez on four. O'Connell, bassist Lincoln Goines and drummer Steve Jordan comprise the core trio, which performs on the beguiling opener, John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice," and O'Connell's pensive "Prayer for Us." Goines plays acoustic bass on six numbers, electric bass on four.

Among the surprises is the finale, the Victor Young/Ned Washington standard "My Foolish Heart," which is normally played as a ballad but is revamped here as a crisp and funky foxtrot. Another is the breezy calypso "Sun for Sunny," wherein O'Connell erases any doubt about the dedicatee's name by incorporating a phrase from Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas" in the melody. Martinez makes his first appearance on O'Connell's impulsive samba, "Loco-Motive," which lays bare his Latin affinity, and adds lively percussion on "Sun For Sonny," "Sweet Peanut" and the free-wheeling "Chaos." Handy, another free spirit, unlimbers his tenor saxophone on "Enough Is Enough" and Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," his soprano saxophone on "Covid Blues," "Sun for Sonny" and "Chaos."

There is an abundance of bright and listenable music on A Change Is Gonna Come, with O'Connell's keen, lively piano in the forefront, ably supported by Goines, Jordan and their guests. And if that is not enough, it could help cure those "Covid Blues."

Track Listing

Moment’s Notice; Loco-Motive; Covid Blues; A Change Is Gonna Come; Sun for Sonny; Enough Is Enough; Sweet Peanut; A Prayer for Us; Chaos; My Foolish Heart.


Bill O'Connell: piano; Craig Handy: saxophone; Lincoln Goines: bass; Steve Jordan: drums; Pedrito Martinez: percussion.

Album information

Title: A Change Is Gonna Come | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Savant Records

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Borrowed Roses
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Where Are We
Joshua Redman
Polarity 2
Ivo Perelman / Nate Wooley


Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio
Afro Futuristic Dreams
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Pharoah (Box Set)
Pharoah Sanders
Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.