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Bill O'Connell: A Change Is Gonna Come

New York City born Leader, Pianist, Composer and Arranger Bill O'Connell has been leading bands and working as a side man for over 40 years now, primarily playing hard bop and Latin Jazz. His early collaborations included Chet Baker and Sonny Rollins. For many years he worked with the late, great Dave Valentin. More recently leading the post-Tito Puente era of The Latin Jazz All-Stars. His latest record is called A Change Is Gonna Come(Savant Records), and it features a tight acoustic trio of O'Connell, Drummer Steve Jordan, and Bassist Lincoln Goines, with support on several cuts from Saxaphonist Craig Handy and Percussionist Pedrito Martinez. Goines also switches up between electric and acoustic bass. The album is mostly original compositions by O'Connell, including an homage to Sonny Rollins called Sun For Sunny, and topical songs written over the past few years of viral, social and political pandemic including Covid Blues, Chaos, and A Prayer For Us. He covers Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come, an appropriate hope for our times.

If you are looking for some accessible, rhythmically interesting straight ahead Jazz to clear your musical palate in advance of the next weekend's Atlanta Jazz Festival, I highly recommend A Change Is Gonna Come. In sound and spirit it harkens back to some of my very favorite Miles-Trane-Carter-Evans glory days. I'll feature one of the more mellow and overtly Latin-tinged cuts from the record, Sweet Peanuts, at the opening of the show tonight at 8pm on Mainstream and Modern, Presented by The Manely Firm PC.

Rob Maynard is WCLK Operations Manager and produces various public affairs programs for WCLK, including The Local Take With Kiplyn Primus, CAU Connects, and Drive Time With Dr. Douglass. He also hosts Mainstream and Modern on Sunday nights 8pm-11pm.