Norman Connors - Love From The Sun
Norman Connors - Love From The Sun
Norman Connors - Love From The Sun
Norman Connors - Love From The Sun
Norman Connors - Love From The Sun
Norman Connors - Love From The Sun

Norman Connors - Love From The Sun

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Vocals – Bill Summers (A3), Dee Dee Bridgewater

Drums – Norman Connors

Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Gary Bartz

Bass – Buster Williams

Cello – Terry Adams

Fender Rhodes Electric Piano – Onaje Allan Gumbs (B1)

Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Piano – Herbie Hancock [click here to see more vinyl featuring Herbie Hancock]

Flute, Alto Flute – Hubert Laws

Percussion – Bill Summers

Percussion, Congas, Drum [Dumbeg And Sakara Drums] – Kenneth Nash

Piano – Onaje Allan Gumbs (B3)

Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Carlos Garnett

Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn – Eddie Henderson

Violin – Nathan Rubin


1 LP, Gatefold jacket

Limited edition

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : black

Speed : 33 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : unspecified

Label : Pure Pleasure

Original Label : Buddah Records

Recorded October 1973 at Wally Heider’s Studio A, San Francisco

Engineered by Ken Hopkins

Strings recorded by John Vieira

Mixed by Ken Hopkins, Mallory Earl

Produced by Skip Drinkwater

Remastered by Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London

Originally released in 1973

Reissued in 2018



Side A:

  1. Revelation
  2. Carlos II
  3. Drums Around The World

Side B:

  1. Love From The Sun
  2. Kumakucha
  3. Holy Waters



“Philadelphia drummer Norman Connors became aware of jazz at a very early age, elementary school. As a middle schooler he got to sit in for Elvin Jones with none other than John Coltrane. After studying music at Temple University and Julliard, Connors first recorded with Archie Shepp in 1967 (Magic Of JuJu). he played with Pharaoh Sanders for a few years and eventually signed with Cobblestone Records (a division of Buddha Records) in 1972. His traditional jazz roots became influenced by rhythm and blues during the 1970’s and beyond. In 1973, Connors released Love From The Sun on Buddha Records. The album served as a bridge between old school jazz and the emerging fusion movement. Featuring Herbie Hancock (with several of the musicians in his Mwandishi ensemble) and a pre-stardom Dee Dee Bridgewater, Connors established himself as a unique musician and arranger.

Pure Pleasure Records has released an audiophile vinyl re-mastering of Love From The Sun. Somewhat overlooked in 1973, it seems appropriate to re-examine this seminal Buddha release. The creative prominence of this project is showcased on the 9 minute opening track “Revelation” (a Herbie Hancock composition). With a variety of spacey jazz lines, featuring Hancock on Fender Rhodes, Carlos Garnett on soprano saxophone and Hubert Laws’ ethereal flute, Buster Williams lays down a funky beat that is propelled by Connors stellar drumming. Hancock interacts with Williams in his solo and Eddie Henderson’s vibrato-less trumpet lines offer a crisp sharp notation in counterpoint to the atmospheric touches. Dee Dee Bridgewater contributes some vocalese to the ambitious arrangement. This experimental hybrid approach to jazz had been explored by Miles Davis and Charles Mingus. “Carlos II”, written by trumpeter/flugelhornist Garnett employs a syncopated Latin-infused framework.. Hancock cuts loose on electric piano and Garnett’s piercing soprano runs connect with bop roots. Connors turns the spotlight inward on “Drums Around The World”. His potent instrumental mastery is presented in a fierce combination of polyrhythmic drumming and infectious African “drum circle” percussion/chanting (Bill Summers). The hypnotic pull of this music is emphatic.

Side Two begins with the expansive title cut. Arranged by keyboardist Onaje Allan Gumbs, the talent of Bridgewater’s heartfelt stylized vocals are front and center. Framed by double-tracked evocative flute shadings, Gumbs’ arrangement takes on a symphonic complexity with stringed accompaniment. Connors nimbly executes subtle tempo changes and Gumbs sparkles on Fender Rhodes. Henderson’s muted trumpet solo adds a different layer as the overall swelling resonance infuses the song. Switching gears, “Kumakutcha” is hard-driving bop with a palpable feel of compelling Dizzy Gillespie large band fluency. The complicated rhythm patterns sustain the relentless tempo and passion of the musicians. Hancock executes a mesmerizing acoustic piano solo. Both Gary Bartz (soprano saxophone) and Henderson (trumpet) ramp up the intensity with force and conviction on their solos. Connors adds a drum solo and as the whole ensemble combines, the explosive results are cohesive and stirring. The finale (“Holy Waters”) brings back Bridgewater with bluesy elegance. Garnett blows the roof off on soprano while Gumbs interacts with the horn/reed parts in graceful nuances. The final vocal fade brings this wild amalgam of hard-edged jazz and spirituality to a satisfying close.

Pure Pleasure Records has done its customary superb job of analog re-mastering. The stereo separation is flawless. The drums, percussion and double bass anchor the bottom of the mix. There is agile tonal emphasis on the Fender Rhodes with echo and reverberation. The soprano is captured with sharpness and clarity without shrillness. A high-gloss gatefold is nothing short of luxurious. Love From The Sun should appeal to a diverse group of jazz enthusiasts.” Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, June 2018

“Love From The Sun is the last unalloyed jazz album recorded by drummer, composer and bandleader Norman Connors under his own name, before he changed course towards R&B and then descended—yes, let us embrace a judgemental moment—into the quagmires of disco and smooth jazz. In autumn 1973, when this album was recorded, Connors, who had made his recording debut on Archie Shepp's The Magic Of Ju-Ju on Impulse! in 1967, had just come off two straight years as a member of Sam Rivers and Pharoah Sanders's bands. He was acoustic-jazz royalty.

There are suggestions of Connors's imminent new direction in the lineup he assembled for Love From The Sun. Several of the players—notably Herbie Hancock, Eddie Henderson and Dee Dee Bridgewater—were already leading lights of fusion. But in 1973, fusion had yet to become a dirty word, other than among straight-ahead diehards who refused to accept electric basses and keyboards and who regarded Miles Davis's masterpieces In A Silent Way (CBS, 1969) and Bitches Brew (CBS, 1970), and their immediate follow-ups, as anti-jazz monstrosities.

Connors's Love From The Sun band was made up, in any case, of musicians with credentials as impeccable as his own. They approached fusion with experimentalist attitudes, consciously seeking to push the boundaries of jazz, while also seeking to expand its audience (in itself no sin, but not without dangers, as the future would demonstrate). Henderson had been a founder member of Hancock's pre-Headhunters band, Mwandishi, and, under his own name, would shortly record two outstanding fusion albums for Blue Note, Sunburst (1975) and Heritage (1976), both produced by Skip Drinkwater, the producer of Love From The Sun. Bill Summers was a founder member of Headhunters. Alongside their ongoing work with Miles Davis, Gary Bartz and Carlos Garnett had recorded the early spiritual-jazz masterpiece Alkebu-Lan: Land Of The Blacks (Strata-East, 1972) as members of James Mtume's Umoja Ensemble. Bridgewater was a member of the band which would record Billy Parker's politically engaged Freedom Of Speech (Strata-East, 1975), previously reviewed here.

These musicians all shine brightly on Love From The Sun. Highlights include Bridgewater's gorgeous vocals on the title track, Hancock's ferocious solo and the turbocharged drums and percussion which are features of "Kumakucha," and Bridgewater's vocals and Garnett's solo, both on-fire performances, on "Holy Waters." And there is plenty more to get your ears round on these and the other three tracks.

A collector's item for decades, Love From The Sun is now back amongst us on this vinyl-only edition from British audiophile label Pure Pleasure.” Chris May, All About Jazz, June 2018


Ratings :

Discogs : 4.45 / 5

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