Friday, June 20, 2008

Bill Connors - Assembler

Jazz fusion guitar fans will recognize Connors as that blazingly explosive and technically precise legato guitarist in Return to Forever who left after one release to pursue a quieter acoustic guitar path. Connors has always been ranked in the upper echelons of fine fusion axe-men. Yet the guitar releases from Connors have come slowly, been severely under-appreciated, and after this release -- it seems no more solo works are ever forthcoming. Let's hope I am wrong.

After leaving Return to Forever, Connors released three excellent acoustic albums in the '70s, did some work with Stanley Clarke on Clarke's solo releases, and played with the Jan Garbarek Group. Connors then returned to releasing hard-hitting yet elegantly soulful electric fusion guitar albums in the '80s. They were shorter length, LP time-length format, offering sonic snippets of Connors' electric visions.

Comparisons can be made easily between this release's guitar stylings to that of Allan Holdsworth's technique. This is not surprising as Holdsworth has always sought that horn sound and flow of John Coltrane and Connors too idolizes Coltrane. Convergent evolution perhaps? Connors has more of a rocking and visceral edgy attack than Holdsworth. His legato phrasing is totally different as well as his guitar voicings. Connors will also lean funky, syncopated, and have more of a groove going on in his compositions. Connors demonstrates he is a guitarists' guitarist with evident passion for his instrument. In conversation with Connors' brother I was told that Bill was always practicing for hours upon hours. It shows clearly on this release.

Assembler marked the final electrified release of this triune fusion CD offering of the '80s.

2.Sea Coy
3.Get It to Go
5.Add Eleven
6.Tell It to the Boss
7.It Be FM


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