Norman Connors

The Best of Norman Connors & Friends

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Norman Connors' roots were in jazz, but it was in the R&B market that the Philadelphian enjoyed his greatest commercial success. When Connors was burning up the soul charts with the 1970s gems heard on this CD, jazz purists were quick to denounce him as a sellout. But while it's regrettable when a jazz improviser puts jazz on the back burner, the fact is that many of Connors' R&B explorations were first-rate. Anyone who appreciates smooth, romantic 70s soul shouldn't be without essential gems like the ethereal "You Are My Starship," the sentimental "Valentine Love," or a remake of the Stylistics' "Betcha By Golly Wow" that features Phyllis Hyman on lead vocals. When it came to singers, Connors knew how to pick them -- Michael Henderson, Jean Carn, Dee Dee Bridgewater and, of course, the late Hyman are some of the "friends" Connors employs. Best Of does contain one jazz-fusion instrumental, "Romantic Journey," but R&B dominates this fine collection.

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