Norman Connors (born March 1, 1947 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American jazz drummer, composer, arranger, producer, and headliner, 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 with Cobblestone Records in 1972 and releasing his first record as a bandleader. He went on to front some great jazz recordings with Carlos Garnett, Gary Bartz, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Herbie Hancock such as "Love From the Sun" on Buddah records..
Connors began to focus more on R&B material in the mid 1970s after signing with Buddah Records. 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 Carn. 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.
His recent work, "Star Power", has seen him operating more in the vein of smooth jazz and urban crossover music, featuring Howard Hewett, Bobby Lyle, Ray Parker, Jr, Peabo Bryson, Michael Henderson, and Antoinette.
As A Lider:
Dark of Light (Buddah Records, 1973)
Slewfoot (Buddah, 1974)
Saturday Night Special (Buddah, 1975)
You Are My Starship (Buddah, 1976)(RE,2010)
Romantic Journey (Buddah, 1977)(RE,2010)
This Is Your Life (Buddah, 1978)
Take it to the Limit (Arista Records, 1980)
Mr.C (Arista, 1981)
Passion (Capitol Records, 1988)
Remember Who You Are (MoJazz/Motown Records, 1993)
Insert B (The Real Deal) / Nobody Knows - Gurus -Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality (Chrysalis, 1995)
Easy Living (Motown, 1996)
Eternity (Starship Records, 2000)
Star Power (Shanachie Records, 2009)
As A Sideman:
1967:Archie Shepp-The Magic Of Ju-ju
1971:Pharoah Sanders-Live at The East
1971:Pharoah Sanders-Black Unity
1973:Pharoah Sanders-Village Of the Pharoahs
1974:Pharoah Sanders-Wisdom Through Music
1974:Pharoah Sanders-Love In Us All
As A Producer:
1976:Aquarian Dream-Norman Connors presents Aquarian Dream
1977:Vitamin E -Sharing
1980:Starship Orchestra-Celestial Sky
1980:Al Johnson-Back for More
1981:Phyllis Hyman -Can't We Fall In Love Again