Norman Connors - 1974 – Love From The Sun
It boggles my mind that you can find a copy of this online for under five dollars. If this was on Strata East or Black Jazz (etc) you couldn’t even touch a copy for under $50.
This recording is what many will consider the debut of the legendary vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater who has since gone on to a brilliant career. Connor’s put together an all-star group with Herbie Hancock and Onaje Allan Gumbs on piano and Fender Rhodes, Dr. Eddie Henderson on trumpet/flugelhorn, Carlos Garnett on tenor/soprano saxes, Gary Bartz on alto/soprano saxes, Buster Williams on bass, drummer/vocalist Bill Summers and Kenneth Nash on percussion, and effective, crucial cameos by master flautist Hubert Laws. On the song, “Love From the Sun‘”, Connors added Nathan Rubin on violin and Terry Adams on cello.
I remember finding my first copy and listened to this on repeat. If you don’t own a copy, do yourself a favor and experience this. I am jealous that you have the opportunity to hear it for the first time. It’s magic.
A1 Revelation 9:00
A2 Carlos II 6:08
A3 Drums Around the World 5:40
B1 Love From the Sun 8:14
B2 Kumakucha (The Sun Has Risen) 6:09
B3 Holy Waters 5:28
By KirbyObsidian and John Braswell
This is a brilliant album that deserves to be known. I easily consider it one of my top 25 of all time.
If you drew a curving line between, say, Mingus’s “Ah Um” and Miles’s “Bitches Brew“, you’d find “Love from the Sun” about half way.
Like those masterworks, this album delivers that gorgeous and lush cacaphony that comes about when you have a room full of great musicians going full out with open hearts and open ears.
It features Herbie Hancock, sax work by Gary Bartz and Carlos Garnett, Eddie Henderson on trumpet, and vocals from a young Dee Dee Bridgewater.
The highlight for me is the 9 minute opener, “Revelation“, with a foundation of fluid bass lines laid down by Buster Williams at his best. The exotic theme of Hancock’s “Revelation”, doubled wordlessly and beautifully by Ms. Bridgewater over Williams bouncing ostinato bass pattern with flights of fancy from Hubert Laws on flute, and superb, luminous solos from Henderson’s exotic trumpet, Garnett on soprano, and Hancock on Fender Rhodes.
Garnett’s “Carlos II” is another great composition with remarkable solos. Connors’ own “Drums Around The Worlds‘” is influenced by African and latin rhythms with emotional vocals from Summers and a drum-only section that builds in intensity. One of the high points of the album is Dee Dee Bridgewater’s awesome, glorious vocalizing on Richard Clay’s lovely “Love From The Sun“, in one of the greatest performances in her career, arranged by Gumbs.
Elmer Gibson’s “Kumakucha” (The Sun Has Risen) is a blazing display of uptempo musicianship by Connor’s driving drums, the propulsive congas of Summers and Nash, and exciting solos from Bartz, Henderson on trumpet, and Hancock’s furious piano solo. The set ends with a marvelous “Holy Waters” composed and arranged by Garnett in a scorching performance by Bridgewater on vocals, Garnett unleashing one of the greatest solos in his storied career, followed by Gumbs’ astute solo.
You deserve to hear this one!