Friday, August 22, 2008

Norman Connors - "Dance of Magic" (1972) + discography

originally posted by Bacoso at "Orgy in Rhythm", November 2006

Norman Connors' first album as a leader is a beautiful collision where the post-Bitches Brew crew meet up with post-Pharoah Sanders spiritual jazz across the rhythms and harmonies of latin america. Check the personnel on the cover, all you could want really!

While almost all of these people would end up in jazz-influenced RnB/disco within a few years of this album - in particular Connors himself - their work in the 1972-75 period is fascinating in its search for, and creation of, new hybrid forms. There are several albums that contain a large crossover of the musicians that are on this one, and taken together they make a wonderful journey. Here's what you need to check out :

Norman Connor's next two wonderful albums, "Dark of Light" and "Love from the Sun" which both develop ideas fermented here; Stanley Clarke's "Children Of Forever", and Carlos Garnett's "Black Love", "Journey To Enlightenment" and "Let This Melody Ring On". Plus of course, we've got Hancock, Henderson and Hart from the Mwandishi band, who we've discussed recently. For them, this comes the same year as "Crossings".

Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater appears on most of the above albums, but not this one - unless she's one of the mysterious U.B.F Singers on the first track?

On the immediate front, many of the people here seem to have come straight off the back of Pharoah Sanders' "Black Unity" and "Live at the East" sessions - Connors, Clarke, Garnett, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart - while some of the sessions that make up Sanders' "Village Of The Pharoahs" (Clarke, Connors, McBee) occur soon before and after this album.

Original 1972 Cobblestone cover
I prefer the 1976 Buddha release (at top) due to Norman's jacket.

I listed all of those albums from saxophonist Carlos Garnett because he's a strong force across the first three Connors albums, and his own subsequent albums can be seen as a continuation of this particular fusion of spiritual jazz and latin elements. There's a strong melodic/harmonic influence from him in the main themes of the "Dance Of Magic" tracks, and he arranged the title track, which takes up all of Side One.

Garnett had worked with co-saxophonist Gary Bartz on Mtume's "Alkebu-Lan - Land Of The Blacks" as well as various Miles Davis sessions. For Bartz, this session occurs in the same year as "Juju Street Songs" / "Follow the Medicine Man".

At this stage Herbie Hancock is stretching his rhodes textures as far as they can go, now fully integrating the keyboard's delay, distortion, wah-wah and ring modulation effects into his playing and composition, just a year before he would shift his sonic experimentation to synthesisers. For Hancock, this session falls between Joe Farrell's "Moongerms" (where he'd been with Stanley Clarke) and Miles Davis' "On the Corner" (which he'd go on to with Garnett and Billy Hart)

I hadn't listened to this album for a few years until today, and it's the percussion that really 'strikes' me this time - Connors has assembled Brasilian wunderkind Airto Moreira and up to six others, and it's just a total funky joy to listen to. Conga player Nat Bettis had been with Gary Bartz on his NTU Troop "Harlem Bush Music" series of three albums, and he and Anthony Wiles had played on Pharoah Sanders' "Thembi" the year before alongside Cecil McBee.

is a huge year for Airto - he recorded his album "Free" (with Stanley Clarke in tow); Buddy Terry's "Pure Dynamite" included Airto, Clarke, Hart and Henderson; both Airto and Clarke continue on to Deodato's best-known effort "Prelude", and he's all over Cannonball Adderley's "Happy People".

Session pix, right-click for larger
L-R Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, Cecil McBee, Eddie Henderson, Art Webb, Gary Bartz, Carlos Garnett, Airto Moreira

Connors' twenty-one minute "Dance Of Magic", which takes up Side One of the original album, starts with the vocal chants of the U.B.F Singers, then rises and falls with barrages of latin percussion over the twin bass attack of McBee and Clarke. Hancock holds the rhythmic centre on acoustic piano, while saxaophonists Garnett and Gary Bartz wail freely over the top, followed by a solo from trumpeter Eddie Henderson and then Hancock, who's initially so caught up in the general percussiveness of it all that he starts plucking and scraping the piano strings.

Cecil McBee's "Morning Change" (preview at top of post) at times melodically presages his album "Mutima" , and is anchored by Hancock's rhodes and a beautiful central sax and trumpet melody that develops into a solo from trumpeter Henderson, here still flying without the reverbs and delays he would soon swamp his sound in, and then a soprano sax solo from Garnett.

Stanley Clarke's ten minute "Blue" is built around a melody line than combines Henderson's muted trumpet with Art Webb's flute. Webb was strongly featured on Clarke's "Children Of Forever" album, and he excels here in a three minute solo. Henderson continues on muted trumpet, then finally Hancock goes crazy on the wah-wah rhodes before the melody is recalled.

The album finishes with Connors' appropriately titled "Give the Drummer Some". He bursts in with a short solo that breaks down to vocal/percussion call and responses, then the conga leads the entire percussion section, joined by Connors, into an exuberant finish.

As mentioned before, Norman Connors went on to develop these ideas across his next two albums, then made a transition into a jazz-influenced RnB that was also highly influential. You'll find all of his 70s and 80s discography, as well as his production work, in blog links at the base of this post.

Links for this album are in the comments. Bacoso's upload had expired, so I've upped this from the deleted CD re-issue which is apparently itself quite rare and valuable these days. So, since I'm also supplying WAV files, you can all print the cover out, rip it and sell it on Ebay, then we'll all take a nice holiday - which I for one need after the Todd Cochran extravaganza. By the way, the epic Cochran post didn't appear on feeds for some reason, so have a read if you missed it ....


01. Dance Of Magic (21:00) - Norman Connors
02. Morning Change (6:29) - Cecil McBee
03. Blue (10:20) - Stanley Clarke
04. Give The Drummer Some (2:22)
- Norman Connors


Drums - Norman Connors
Bass - Cecil McBee (1,2) , Stanley Clarke
Piano, Fender Rhodes, Electric Piano - Herbie Hancock
Alto & Soprano Saxophones - Gary Bartz
Tenor & Soprano, Saxophones - Carlos Garnett
Flute - Art Webb
Trumpet - Eddie Henderson
Baliphone - Anthony Wiles
Percussion - Airto Moreira (2,3,4) , Alphonse Mouzon (1,3) , Anthony Wiles , Babafemi (1) , Billy Hart (2,3,4)
Percussion, Congas - Nat Bettis
Vocals - U.B.F. Singers, The (1)


1972 - Cobblestone, CST-9024
then re-released :
1976 - Buddah, BDS 5674

Producer - Dennis Wilen , Skip Drinkwater
Engineer [Recording] - Harry Yarmark
Mastered By - Sam Feldman

Recorded at Bell Sound Studios, NYC , 1972

NORMAN CONNORS on Planet Blog :

** spiritual norman **

"Dance of Magic" (1972) - in COMMENTS HERE
"Dark Of Light" (1973) MP3- at Pharoah's Dance

"Dark Of Light" (1973) FLAC- at Call It Anything
"Love from the Sun" (1973) at My Jazz World
"Bartz - Henderson - Connors - live at Nemu Jazz Inn" (1975) - also here

** transitional norman**

"Slewfoot" (1974) at My Jazz World

** soul-disco king norman ** ( these are great too)

"Saturday Night Special" (1975) at My Jazz World

"You are my Starship" (1976) at Blak's Lair
"Romantic Journey" (1977)
at Blak's Lair
"This is your Life" (1978) at My Jazz World / alternate
(12" single of "Captain Connors" at Tuttsi Fruttsi Icecream)
"Invitation" (1979)
at Blak's Lair
"Take it to the Limit" (1980) at Soulfunkjazz's Blog
"Mr C" (1981) at Blak's Lair / alternate

** producer norman **

"Norman Connors presents Aquarian Dream" - Aquarian Dream (1976) at Baby Grandpa

("Phoenix" 12" extended version @ tuttsi fruttsi icecream)
"Fantasy" - Aquarian Dream (1978) at My Jazz World

("You're a Star / Play it for me - Aquarian Dream - 12") also at this blog.
"Sharing" - Vitamin E (1977) ONE plus TWO
"Love Will Find a Way" - Pharoah Sanders (1978) at El Goog ja
"Celestial Sky" - Starship Orchestra (1980) at My Jazz World

"Back for More" - Al Johnson (1980) at Here Only Good Music
"Can't We Fall In Love Again" - Phyllis Hyman (1981) at Groove With You

** later jazz norman **

"Beyond a Dream" (live with Pharoah Sanders) (1978) at My Jazz World
"Meditation" - Pharoah Sanders at Ile Oxumaré
(this is a bootleg of a different part of the same concert)

** norman the sideman **

"The Magic Of Ju-ju" - Archie Shepp (1967) at Into the Rhythm
Jackie McLean - session rejected by Blue Note (1968)
"Hues" - Sam Rivers (1971) at Inconstant Sol

"Live at The East" - Pharoah Sanders (1971) at Pharoah's Dance
"Black Unity" - Pharoah Sanders (1971) at Oufar Khan
"Love In Us All" - Pharoah Sanders at Pharoah's Dance
"Streams" - Sam Rivers (1973) at Ile Oxumaré
"Village Of the Pharoahs" - Pharoah Sanders (1973) at Pharoah's Dance "Wisdom Through Music" - Pharoah Sanders (1974) at Magic of Juju
"Odyssey" - Charles Earland (1976) at My Jazz World


Album blog links in this post go to :
Pharoah’s Dance, My Jazz World, Blak’s Lair, DJ Uilson Professor Groove, ile oxumaré, el goog ja, Oufar Khan, Nothing Is v2.0, Blog Do Turquinho, Everything Is On The One, The Bodega, It’s Coming out of your Speaker, Afrofunkybrassjazz, jazz-rock-fusion-guitar, Baby Grandpa, Bug In The City, Here only Good Music, Groove With You, Music Download cc , Magic of Juju, Musical Moadom, mec fais tourner les skeuds

Please thank and support these bloggers if you click through and download.

If links go dead, please let me know so I can re-direct and keep the page current.

Comments are welcome and encourage me to keep writing/posting, thanks. 



Simon666 said...

Please comment, thanks

vesper said...

Simon, changes have been done on my side :) My thoughts are that, instead of printing covers for some eBay trade, I'll rather print, or keep it in some ways, all what you write. This is some precious knowledge, education or whatever, that have no equivalent. Funny to see how the Bacoso issue has led to building some impressive cover stories here and at Ish's. We're all children of OIR!!

ish said...

Another impressive discographical effort. My only disappointment is that you have unearthed no new Norman Connors & friends albums I didn't already have... I love this stuff and can't believe there's not more of it out there! He has one newer album that I think is actually quite good--Remember Who You Are--but most of his newer output is pretty awful smooth jazz.

Gianni aka Cesare Barbetta said...

yes, impressive blog!
thanks simon.
we know you care.
you know we love you.

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the nice comments guys.
Gianni I love you too!! :)
Seriously, I notice that you you always comment on blogs when you download and it's VERY appreciated.

Jazz-Nekko said...


Au contraire. . . a Connor's album that you do not already have. I do not see the album that I have listed here. Hmmm, a bit of mystery, eh?

Hehehehe, I will see what I can do rectify your gap.


Simon666 said...

JN, I was going to ask you about that one ... seems like a logical followup post :) I'll email you now ...

Jeffrey Siegel said...

Thanks for keepign this great web site alive and bringing these insightful comments to us all

ish said...

Well of course JN I know about that album you posted at the late's now one of my downloaded treasures. Are teasing me with some OTHER morsel??

makuma said...

Thanks so much. I really apreciate your research and writing!!

katonah said...

i'm with you on the covers simon.
that cobblestone original is a stinker !!
another herculian presentation ...

Simon666 said...

Very true katonah, I wanted to give props to Norman's late "Sgt. Pepper" look on the '76 cover ..

ish said...

In honor of your post I was inspired to put up a Norman Connors appearance as a sideman. It's a pretty adventurous date but if you're in the mood for some free jazz, go get it!

Simon666 said...

Thanks Ish!
well, you've forced me into adding a sideman section :
New album links additions to post -

"The Magic Of Ju-ju" - Archie Shepp (1967)
"Live at The East" - Pharoah Sanders (1971)
"Streams" - Sam Rivers (1973)
"Wisdom Through Music" - Pharoah Sanders
"Odyssey" - Charles Earland (1976)

Couldn't find a link for :

"Hues" - Sam Rivers (1971)

Art Simon said...

Thanks! Great history, and fascinating links, much appreciated!

avocado kid said...

another impressive compendium!

Can I put in a vote for a future post devoted to the work of Eric Gale? He has his hand in many (perhaps too many to easily compile) groovy classics...

Simon666 said...

Thanks Art and Avocado Kid.

Eric Gale hmmm ... HUGE varied discography as a sessionman, but somehow I can't see him as the link between them? I guess I need to be obsessed to do these posts :)

Anonymous said...

:D What a great and exciting album. Very grateful simon666!

DannyBlue said...

Incredible detail, incredible research, incredible posts, incredible music. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You have some great scolarship and research lately, dear sir. This is stuff that can only be accomplished through hard work and diligence. We all owe you a sincere thanks and deep gratitude. Job well done and deeply appreciated. I can easily spend hours just reading and linking on each post. I truly am indebted to your passion.

Ispettore Manetta said...

This is a rarity among blogs devoted to music - the excellence of the albums posted is matched with the excellence of the texts. Tons of information, literally. I was particularly amazed when I read your "Bennie Maupin - Moonscapes" post - all the links I searched for in the past 8 months on separate blogs in order to assemble a complete discography were there. Thanks for your efforts!
What do you think about Eumir Deodato, Brian Auger and Ronnie Foster as keyboard artists?

Art Simon said...

Hey Simon,

I thought you might like the tasty rhodes on Zbigniew Seifert's Kilimanjaro, a monster live recording from a club in Poland 3 months before he died in 1978:
1. Impressions (J. Coltrane) - 12'10"
2. Where Are You From (Z. Seifert) - 16'50"
3. Kilimanjaro (Passion) (Z. Seifert) - 17'15"
4. Bez tytułu (Z. Seifert) - 10'50"
5. Spring On The Farm (Z. Seifert) - 11'30"

* Zbigniew Seifert - violin
* Jarosław Śmietana - guitar
* Janusz Grzywacz - Fender piano
* Zbigniew Wegehaupt - bass
* Mieczysław Górka - drums
There's some more cool Polish rhodes over at

Thanks again for the truly wonderful blog!

Simon666 said...

hey art thanks for that, nice stuff!

ish said...

Thanks Art for the Seifert link! I had no idea he died so young. I have a thing for both Polish jazz and electric violin so he pretty much fills the bill nicely.

Gianni aka Cesare Barbetta said...

thanks for zbigniew link!
I like polish style!

Unknown said...

Hi Simon

I think that the day when someone post a feature article -Polish jazz- has come :)

Keep it up!
el goog

Baby Grandpa said...

Hello Simon,

Thanks for the comment and thanks for making my post on Norman Connors part of this incredibly extensive and informative post.

Of course I immediately picked up your post of Dance in Magic in WAV thru RapidShare, after all, I'm a paying premium user. :-)

Never though that my post "Norman Connors presents Aquarian Dream" would end up in an article like yours.

Thanks and keep it up.

Baby Grandpa

PS: I'll add your blog to my blog roll as well.

Simon666 said...

Thanks Baby Grandpa, good to see you here.

Anonymous said...

Thank`s for this post and collecting all the links. Never knew he did (and was part of) so many records. And feel free to use links from my blog, even though i don`t post that much jazz. But i will check your blog for jazz music and knowledge now that OrgyInRhythm is no more.

20-100 said...

thank you for this bad bad post

Q said...

Man Simon666 I must say you have like the best blog on the net. This is deep music that you post. Stuff for your mind, Keep it up!

Simon666 said...

thanks Chris!

powerpool said...

Abolutely brilliant post(s). Never came across tis stuff before. Your efforts are most appreciated.

RG_one said...


StegnerFan said...

thanks as always.

K-SiQ said...

Your work is most welcomed, appreciated, respected and loved!!!

Many thanks from Brazil for you and the other Brothers from the Brothersphere (a.k.a. Blogosphere) of Great Sounds: Bacoso, Reza, Ile, Ish, Loronix and several others that i don`t remember now but which work continuously makes our lives richer and well-lived. All of you deserve it!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks very much!

Vad sa dom sa du? said...

You, OIR & handfull of others have really changed my musical life. I don´t know why or how I ended up on your sites, but man - I´m hooked!! Your effort is one of the seventh wonders of the internet. It´s true!! I bought the t-shirt that says so...

Thanks! Seems to be more and more everywhere I dig here, and your excellent writing just makes that showel go even faster.

pinkpob said...

Hey just found your blog through Oufar site. looks good and thanks for the links!

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys.
Welcome pinkpob, have fun here.

MM said...

Your blog is just TO MUCH for me man!! AWESOME taste of music you have here.
Thanks for sharing it with us.


Simon666 said...

Thanks MM.

Hi everyone, just searching out some dead links here ... anyone got a link for Pharoah Sanders' "Love Will Find a Way" (1978) ?

Simon666 said...

New link in the "producer norman" section of the discography :

Pharoah Sanders "Love Will Find a Way", part of a package of Xmas goodies from El Goog Ja :

peskypesky said...

Hot damn does this one look god! I'll listen to anything that's influenced by Pharoah Sanders (as he is my main man) and with cats like Gary Bartz, Herbie Hancock and Stanley Clark, this promises to be quiate a nice listening experience. Thank you!

Seb Palmer said...

looks like a good 'un... thanks, the goat

bobbysu said...

thanks for sharing

Simon666 said...

Hello Norman Connors fans -
Pleased to see that I think we've just completed the Norman Connors sideman discography in this post, with the posting at Inconstant Sol of Sam Rivers' album "Hues" :

Also found new links to replace those that were going to dead blogs, so this post is now "fully active" again ... well for a week or so anyway :)

Anonymous said...

thank you, simon :D

Simon666 said...

No problems S, thanks for the 'Thembi' link, I always love that album ..

Simon666 said...

New addition to the "Producer Norman" section of the discography :

"Sharing" - Vitamin E (1977) at The Bodega

Simon666 said...

Discography addition :

12" single of "Captain Connors" at Tuttsi Fruttsi Icecream

Simon666 said...

Discography addition :
Producer norman :

"Phoenix" (Aquarian Dream) 12" extended version @ tuttsi fruttsi icecream

Dead link :
Producer Norman :

Vitamin E - "Sharing" (1977)

The Bodega blog has gone. Any re-up of this album would be much appreciated, thanks!

Simon666 said...

Scratch that request, I dug out some links and have added.

drlag said...

Thank you for the terrific album and also for the excellent discussion of the artists' activities in the early '70s. Thanks also to all who have contributed to the discussion.

troods said...

I must have said this before, but fuck it, I'll say it again. The combination of reconnecting with my old vinyl (finally have his complete collection, except for the 12" - how do you do it?) and for the discussion and history which makes my brain feel so full and fluffy :). I'll go over the sideman albums (I've got many of them) and production, etc. You never cease to amaze - your generosity on every level and the time you spend sharing is awe inspiring.

Simon666 said...

Thanks again for all your comments on the blog Troods - been slowing down here lately but the comments enourage me to pick up the pace again ;)

matthew said...

Being (embarrassingly) late into finding jazz resources on the web (other than sounds of the universe and amazon!) I am absolutely knocked out by the work you have put in here which reflects such a great love of our music. For writing so much info, for joining up the sessions and the musicians and for the links, Thank you thank you thank you. I was always reticent to comment a year or more after a post and for this I am Sorry. Oh and did I say thanks?

Russtafarian said...

I am delighted with the recent trend I have seen among some bloggers to post albums in lossless formats and grateful to you for this. I really appreciate your obvious enjoyment of the music and the inter-relationships between the musicians. I enjoy when members of various groups (post-Miles, post-Coltrane, post-Pharoah etc) come together in unusual collaborations and in this case it includes my favourite musician (Herbie) in the middle of my favourite of his 'periods' with some of his regulars and some less so. It feels like when I discovered an album of him playing with Eric Dolphy, the unexpected juxtaposition of Miles and Coltrane sidesmen.

Thad said...

Great to have a lossless version of this so I can burn a CD for the car. Just unearthed the vinyl after a long while. Great spiritual jazz - thank you for posting!

Anonymous said...

Your collection here and the information on these posts is mind blowing! I have learned so much... Thank you.
-Frankie Mules

Simon666 said...

Thanks Matthew, Russtafarian, Thad and anonymous for your comments :)

Here's a new download link :

Anonymous said...

you, sir, deserve a medal for all your work on this fascinating blog! JLebowski

Anonymous said...

thank you! thank you! thank you!Much praise deserved for building this collection of works.
brilliant fam!

Anonymous said...

thank you thank you thank you Simon. This music is


mike said...

thanks! awesome!

Roy said...

Great work on this website. Are you still maintaining it?

Simon666 said...

Thanks Roy. I'm maintaining in terms of keeping the music available, posting only occasionally now. new compilation coming soon :)
Thanks also Mike & others for your comments.

AJ said...

Once again.Thank you. Great album and great information.