177

Bill Connors: Return

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Connors: Return At first the guitar licks might bring Pat Metheny to mind. Then the overall sound may give the impression of a Chick Corea ensemble. Both impressions would be wrong—but not entirely. It's Bill Connors, a veteran who has recorded or performed with many modern jazz legends, including Jack DeJohnette, Steve Khan, and Lee Konitz. He's even spent time with Return to Forever, Corea's pioneering 1970s fusion group, and Dave Weckl, who toured and recorded with Corea's Elektric and Acoustic bands of the late 1980s and early '90s. Their influence is clearly heard on Return.

While Connors is clearly in his own zone on the electric guitar, hints of Corea then and now can be heard on nearly every song, from the broken-time patterns of the piano and bass to the Weckl-esque drum play of Kim Plainfield. All songs are Connors originals except "Mr. Cool," "On the Edge" and "Mind Over Matter," which were penned by pianist Bill O'Connell; John Coltrane's "Brasilia"; and Plainfield's "McMinor."

It would be of little surprise if some listeners never get to the last seven tracks on the album. The first three are so good that it's tempting to just play them over and over. "On the Edge" is the one that has that Metheny/Corea feel to it, followed by the sizzling "Mr. Cool'" and "McMinor.'" The good news is if you lapse and forget to hit the back button in time, you'll be just as easily captivated by the quasi-frantic pace of "Mind Over Matter," which features Connors in a lead that is clearly his own but may bring to mind such jazz guitar legends as Wes Montgomery, Lee Ritenour and, of course, Metheny. Meanwhile, his sidemen are kicking it in a variety of gears, exploring their own paths while maintaining focus on the leader—clearly the way jazz was meant to be played. If you don't get past track four, it's understandable.

However, if you're disciplined enough to take your hand off the repeat button, more musical pleasures await you. There's the bluesy "Minor Matters,'" the broken-time "Try Tone Today" (an apparent tribute to "Doc Tone" Kenny Kirkland), the up-tempo "Terrabill Blues," the Corea-influenced "Nobody Yet To," "It Be FM," and the bossa nova closer, "Brasilia." In short, every song on this album deserves attention; they're all that good. The title, Return, is a subtle, if not intentional, reference to the band Connors played with in the '70s: Return to Forever. That group's influences are all over the place. Combined with Connors' personal touch, as well as those of his sidemen, it's a can't-miss combination.

Track Listing: On the Edge, Mr. Cool, McMinor, Mind Over Matter, Minor Matters, Try Tone Today, Terrabill Blues, Nobody Yet To, It Be FM, Brasilia

Personnel: Bill Connors, guitar; Bill O

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Tone Center | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Neuroplastic Groove" CD/LP/Track Review Neuroplastic Groove
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Basement Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Basement Blues
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Double Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Double Quartet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Lubbock (on everything)" CD/LP/Track Review Lubbock (on everything)
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 3, 2017
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!