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|Birth name||Norman Connors|
March 1, 1947|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Norman Connors (born March 1, 1947) is an American jazz drummer, composer, arranger, and producer who has led some influential jazz and R&B groups. He also achieved several big R&B hits of the day, especially with love ballads.
Connors became interested in jazz as a child when he began to play drums, once sitting in for Elvin Jones at a John Coltrane performance he attended while in middle school. Connors studied music at Temple University and Juilliard. His first recording was on Archie Shepp's 1967 release, Magic of JuJu. He played with Pharaoh Sanders for the next few years until signing in 1972 with jazz label, Cobblestone Records, a division of Buddah Records, and releasing his first record as a bandleader.
Connors began to focus more on R&B material in the mid-1970s after signing with Buddah Records and then becoming the label's A&R manager. He scored several US hits with songs featuring guest vocalists such as Michael Henderson, Jean Carn, and Phyllis Hyman. The most successful of these was "You Are My Starship" (#4 R&B, #27 Pop), featuring Henderson in 1976, while "Valentine Love", his first chart success, made #10 R&B in 1975, with vocals from Henderson and Jean Carne. Dee Dee Bridgewater also performed with him on the jazz album "Love from the Sun". He has also produced recordings for various artists, including collaborators like Jean Carn, Phyllis Hyman, Al Johnson, Norman Brown, and saxophonist Marion Meadows.
Connors switched to the Arista label when Buddah was bought out in 1978 and achieved a crossover to the disco scene in 1980 when he had the hit 'Take it to the Limit', which was released on 12" single. The B side, "Black Cow" (an instrumental) was written by Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.
His most recent work, Star Power, features smooth jazz and urban crossover music.
- Dance of Magic (Cobblestone Records, 1973)
- Dark of Light (Buddah Records, 1973)
- Love from the Sun (Buddah, 1974)
- Slewfoot (Buddah, 1974)
- Live at Nemu Jazz Inn - 1 (Nippon Columbia/Cobblestone, 1975)
- Saturday Night Special (Buddah, 1975)
- You Are My Starship (Buddah, 1976)
- Romantic Journey (Buddah, 1977)
- This Is Your Life (Buddah/Arista, 1978)
- Invitation (Buddah/Arista, 1979)
- Take it to the Limit (Arista Records, 1980)
- Mr.C (Arista, 1981)
- Passion (Capitol Records, 1988)
- Remember Who You Are (MoJazz, 1993)
- Easy Living (Motown Records, 1996)
- Eternity (Starship Records, 2000)
- Star Power (Shanachie Records, 2009)
With Sam Rivers
With Pharoah Sanders
- Live at the East (Impulse!, 1972)
- Village of the Pharoahs (Impulse!, 1973)
- Love in Us All (Impulse!, 1972–73)
- Love Will Find a Way (Arista, 1978)
- "Norman Connors profile at". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21.