Norman Connors

Eternity

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Since the mid-'70s, Connors has been one of the most successful crossover jazz artists. Albums like You Are My Starship, Invitation, and Passion are necessities for those who are fans of the genre. Eternity is the first album on his label Starship Records, which is distributed by The Right Stuff. This effort, like his '90s efforts for Motown -- finds Connors expounding on his classic style as well as making overtures to the contemporary jazz market. The cover of "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" is arranged by Onaje Allan Gumbs and features a sax solo from Gary Bartz. A song that Connors planned on covering with the late Phyllis Hyman has Lisa Fischer stepping in and giving a great, emotionally charged performance. Connors also does a cover of his 1976 classic "You Are My Starship" here. Although the original is definitive, Peabo Bryson does the vocal and his timbre is perfect for the track. Angie Bofill takes the lead for the powerful and haunting "You Can't Hurt Me Anymore." Not everything on Eternity is great, though. "Conditions of the Heart" and an instrumental cover of Toni Braxton's "You're Making Me High" isn't much different than the "smooth jazz" style that's been treading water since the late '80s. Other songs are closer to his hooky and melodic production style. "Just Another Love Song" and a cover of Donny Hathaway's "We're Still Friends" with lead vocals from Donald Tavie have the romantic appeal of Connors' best work. Eternity is another classic effort from one of jazz's best performers and producers.

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