Norman Connors

Passion

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One of the innovators of jazz-R&B, Connors set the standard with 1976's You Are My Starship. Passion was his first release in over six years and features the singing talents of Gabrielle Goodman and Spencer Harrison. In the six years between albums, the jazz-R&B sound had changed. Big orchestras and live, esteemed players were replaced with more minimal, technologically based surroundings. On this effort, Connors strikes a successful middle ground. The album's first single is one of Connors' finest songs. The dramatic "I'm Your Melody" has vocals from Harrison that are filled with authority as he comes off like a male Phyllis Hyman. The melodically challenging "You're My One and Only Love" has a sweet vocal from Goodman and has Connors updating his sound with drum machines and other synths. On Passion, Connors does a few covers. Both Earth, Wind & Fire's "That's the Way of the World" and Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You" have him taking a look back for better or worse and are suitably updated to the style of late-'80s commercial jazz. On Passion, Connors no doubt had a better time with the originals. The duets "Welcome to My Life" and "Heaven in Your Eyes" both feature Goodman and Harrison and quickly became new Connors standards. Although he was surprisingly good at it, Connors ditched the hardware for Passion's last track. The rousing "Samba for Maria" has an excellent and emotional solo from Freddie Hubbard as Connors gets to display his percussion skills in a stripped-down arrangement. Passion marks a successful return to the music scene for Connors and has a few of his most enjoyable tracks.

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