early jazz work from Norman Connors – a pair of albums back to back on a single CD! Dance Of Magic is a landmark first album from drummer Norman Connors – a spiritual jazz masterpiece that builds wonderfully on the post-Coltrane tradition! Norman is years away from his smoother soul recordings at this point, and coming out of a righteous
jazz background that included work with Marion Brown and Archie Shepp. For this initial set, Norman's in incredible company – working with players that include Herbie Hancock on both electric and acoustic keys, plus Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Gary Bartz and Carlos Garnett on saxes, Stanley Clarke on bass, and Billy Hart and Airto on percussion – plus a chorus of vocalists on the album's mighty title cut! Tracks are all long, spiritual, and freely exploratory – but never in a style that goes too far outside, or that forgets the joy and love that can spring forth in a forward-thinking session like this one! Titles include "Dance Of Magic", "Give The Drummer Some", "Morning Change", and "Blue". Dark Of Light is a sensational bit of righteous
soul jazz – right up there with the best work on Strata East and Black Jazz from the time! The sound here is full, soulful, and spiritual – as Connors heads up a large ensemble that includes luminaries like Herbie Hancock, Eddie Henderson, Gary Bartz, Carlos Garnett, Buster Williams, and Dee Dee Bridgewater – all working together in a formation that's free spirited, yet tightly unified – often at a level that's even stronger than their own recordings! The album mixes a few longer tracks with shorter numbers – in a mode that reminds us a lot of Garnett's classic Black Love album – and titles include "Song For Rosa", "Black Lightnin", "Dark Of Light", "Butterfly Dreams", and "Laughter".