Romantic Journey

by: Norman Connors

When Norman Connors made the transition from jazz albums to commercially successful R&B-oriented dates, the drummer found himself being lambasted repeatedly in jazz press (something Roy Ayers, Patrice Rushen, George Duke and George Benson could also relate to). Myopic jazz critics trashed Romantic Journey simply because it contains so much R&B/pop, as opposed to judging its merits as an R&B/pop-oriented album. Though not as strong as its predecessor, You Are My Starship, this decent offering has its strong points, including Philip Mitchell's vocal on the haunting "Destination Moon" and Eleanore Mills' performance on a likable cover of the Stylistics' "You Are Everything." Although R&B/pop is dominant, Romantic Journey does have two noteworthy jazz instrumentals -- the Return To Forever-influenced title song and an interpretation of Pharoah Sanders' "Thembi." Connors' ultra-slick version of Gato Barbieri's "Last Tango In Paris" is a little too Muzak-like and sounds like producer Creed Taylor at his most calculated, but Journey's strengths outweigh its weaknesses. ~ Alex Henderson

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