Bill Connors: Subtracks




Bill Connors (electric guitar)


Double-Up (Pathfinder Records PTF 8620-CD)

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Bill Connors (electric guitar),

Tom Kennedy (bass), Kin Plainfield (drums)


Composed by Bill Connors


Recorded: New York; released 1986


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Bill Connors was poised for a legendary fusion career. As guitarist for Chick Corea's Return to Forever, he instantly garnered notice with his performance on the group's seminal jazz-rock album Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy. But his RTF stint was short-lived. After a year he quit. He felt that due to Corea's Scientology, the bandleader was too strict and demanding. Connors was also upset because he thought the band's music was heading into the territory already occupied by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Connors took up classical guitar and pretty much fell off the face of the earth as far as having a commercial career. Since the '70s, his album releases have been few and far between. Even so, the recordings he has put out serve as a testament to his great abilities.

During a small fusion revival scene in the mid-'80s, Connors released his first record in six years. But due to his long absence from the genre, Double-Up wasn't even a part of the revival. That is too bad. But isn't that what posterity is for?

"Subtracks" is a study in motion. Bassist Tom Kennedy and drummer Kim Plainfield begin this driving piece with a circular riff and rhythm. Connors quickly joins them with a display of Methenyesque chords. Kennedy and Plainfield keep chugging as Connors solos. He is no longer Metheny. He is more like Allan Holdsworth. And in fact, both men claim as much influence from horn players as guitarists. Connors's long sustained notes and drawn-out lines back that up. He returns to his version of Pat Metheny to round out the number in a pleasing way. Connors was too good to put out so few records. But each of us must follow our muse.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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