Reissued on CD by the Black Saint/Soul Note labels, this entry from Paul Bley's IAI label features fairly free playing from an unusual trio comprised of Lee Konitz (on alto and soprano), keyboardist Bley and Bill Connors on electric and acoustic guitars. Actually, due to the free nature of the pieces, the music is less exciting than one might hope. Everyone takes chances in their solos but several of the pieces wander on much too long. Overall this session does not reach the heights one might expect from these great players.
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."
This session accented the funk/R&B and rock elements of Connors' arsenal; the eight selections were dominated both by drummer Dave Weckl's prominent backbeats and Connors' riffs and dashing licks, as well as catchy hooks, progressions, and patterns from bassist Tom Kennedy. Step It album Such songs as "A Pedal," "Brody," and the title cut weren't melodically sophisticated, but had a bass-heavy structure and quick, animated solos. Step It CD music Although the date is a bit old, its qualities prove a perfect fit on several new adult contemporary and lite-jazz outlets.
Bill Connors will always be best known for being the original guitarist with Chick Corea's Return to Forever, preceding Al DiMeola. After making one classic album (Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy), Connors left RtF and has had a lower profile ever since, spending some time exploring acoustic guitar. On 2004's Return, Connors is back on electric guitar but playing post-bop jazz rather than fusion and with a tone closer to Kenny Burrell than to DiMeola. His nine originals sometimes have catchy grooves but they are never predictable.