Jazz fusion guitar fans will recognize Connors as that blazingly explosive and technically precise legato guitarist in Return to Forever who left after one release to pursue a quieter acoustic guitar path. Connors has always been ranked in the upper echelons of fine fusion axe-men. Yet the guitar releases from Connors have come slowly and been severely underappreciated. After leaving Return to Forever, Connors released three excellent acoustic albums in the '70s, did some work with Stanley Clarke on Clarke's solo releases, and played with the Jan Garbarek Group.
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.
Bill Connors is a jazz musician notable for being a legato technique master, adept at both the acoustic and electric guitar, and successfully played jazz-rock, free and fusion material in the '70s and '80s. His best early solos were in the jazz-rock genre, where his use of distortion and electronics was balanced by fine phrasing and intelligent solos.