Bill Connors has spent the last 30 years moving through a myriad of phases of both popular and progressive jazz; most notably, Connors’ leading role in Chick Corea’s Return to Forever and his monumental work on "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy". After leaving the band that brought him into the spotlight, he moved on to the ECM label to seek out a more personal goal; Connors took on a purer sound during that time, a sound that would eventually become embedded in his soul as an artist. And although the celebrated guitarist would eventually create several more fusion albums during his career before taking a lengthy hiatus, the lure of creation and recording would eventually bring him back to the surface - and into the spotlight once more.
"Return" finds Connors among close friends and fantastic musicians; with Bill O’Connell on Piano, Lincoln Goines on Bass, Kim Plainfield on Drums, and featuring Myra Casales on Percussion, it would be virtually impossible for "Return" not to contend.
"On The Edge" breaks out with stylish flair and expert instrumentation and timing from all aboard. Connors’ guitar swoons around O’Connell’s keys, while held fast by Plainfield’s precise drumwork; the melody traverses from the guitar to the piano and back again as Goines’ bass slurs around in its own sweet time - absolutely fantastic track to break the ice. "Mr. Cool" shifts gears into a more groove oriented and progressive movement; featuring an intro from Goines’ droningly razor-sharp strings, the arrangement moves to O’Connell’s dexterous keys, and eventually to Connors own frets. "McMinor" is a smoothly rich blend, deftly arranged by Kim Plainfield, and O’Connell’s "Mind Over Matter" follows with its smoking hot progressions and fantastic timing structures.
The ensuing "Minor Matters" from Connor himself appears to be a pseudo-throwback and/or breakdown (or vice-versa) of the previous piece; O’Connell and Connor taunt the other, while Plainfield’s kit accents the dancing melodies with absolute precision. "Try Tone Today" and "Terrabill Blues" both spotlight the extensive creativity and musicianship of Connors and his crew - Goines’ basswork on both tracks is extraordinary. "Nobody Yet To" finds O’Connell and Goines chasing each other through the blazingly scaled-out intro, and both continue to fly note-for-note throughout the entire piece. The cleverly groove oriented and bottom ended "It Be Fm" slows the tempo of the album and introduces the final track. Connors takes the lead on Coltrane’s ballad of "Brasilia", and the rest of the crew sink tightly in together throughout the mix.
Overall, the album is undeniably a fantastic piece of recorded work, not only for the jazz purists and Connors fans, but also for the future generations of young artists and musicians. Bravo, and cheers all around.