|April 28, 2013||See More Photos by Lexi Lewis HERE|
Review by:Lexi Lewis
Norman Connors – A Night of Fun and Jazz on the Starship
It wasn’t quite the starship referred to in the song “You Are My Starship” in 1976, but one thing that held true from the song were the words “and don’t be late” because the Yacht StarShip Dinner Cruise in Tampa, FL left promptly at 7pm! On Saturday, April 27, 2013, EncoreVision Entertainment put on The Bold & The Beautiful Masquerade Dinner and Jazz Cruise featuring Grammy Award Winner Norman Connors who showcased one of Tampa’s ever-so-popular vocalists, Ms. Theo Valentin.
Immediately after setting sail, all guests enjoyed a fabulously prepared 3 course meal that left you wanting seconds! The food options were chicken, fish or vegetarian – a little something to satisfy everyone. After our meal was consumed, we were directed to deck 3 where the live jazz was featured. The deck had plenty of tables and chairs, however, it ended up being standing room only. Although DJ Tee Pee was located on deck 2 of the ship offering guests another option, I believe all the guests were on deck 3!
Dressed in all black, Theo Valentin graced the stage and sang a few numbers. She definitely had fans aboard the ship because they made their presence known by applause and screams for her! During one song, Theo was up close and personal with the crowd as she broke down the song into a whistle. The crowd was excited as she continued on with Norman Connors on drums. Her voice is strong, yet smooth just like her whistle. If you thought the person who whistled the theme to the old Andy Griffith Show was good, you should hear Theo! She gives new meaning to the term “whistle blower.” As well, she did a beautiful rendition of “I Will Always Love You” similar to that of Whitney Houston. The crowd really enjoyed that one because several people waved their hands in the air during the song.
Backing Theo was Norman Connors’ band which consisted of a bass, drums, keys and a horn player. The bass player, Mike Eley, is the musical director of the group. Now we all know Norman Connors for the song “You Are My Starship.” The vocalist who sang the song aboard the StarShip cruise was Edward McCree. He wore a Fedora hat and a flowing white 2-piece matching shirt and pants outfit. Edward sang the song just right! I could see smiles upon faces as he sang because it probably reminded folks of what they were doing or how they were feeling back in 1976 when they first heard the song. “You Are My Starship” was nominated for a Grammy Award and Connors ended up winning the Grammy for the 1976 hit. Connors is an accomplished American jazz drummer, composer, arranger, and producer who attended both Temple University and Julliard School of Music in New York.
The crowd appeared to really enjoy the show but like all shows, they must come to an end. The band closed the show with an up tempo song that had many attendees stopping to dance as we were being encouraged to disembark the ship. Overall, the food was delicious, atmosphere was great, weather was perfect and, of course, the music was phenomenal. Nice job EncoreVision Entertainment. I’m already looking forward to your next event! You can check out EncoreVision Entertainment at www.encorevisionentertainment.com.
As I said my goodnights to the vocalists, band members and Norman Connors, he asked me if I had all the information I need to write this overview. I told Mr. Connors I did but that I’d like to ask him a few questions if he didn’t mind. I was able to sit next to him and have the following impromptu interview:
SJM: After being a recording artist for 40 years you were here tonight performing on the StarShip, how appropriate; what does it feel like to continue to entertain after all of these years!?
Norman: It feels good, it keeps me young, keeps me going and keeps me inspired. It’s beautiful. What else am I going to do?
SJM: It’s all you know?
Norman: Well, no, it’s not all I know. I do a lot of things…I do lectures, I’m a producer; I do everything in the music business. And, I just wrote a book.
SJM: Can you share the title?
Norman: Title – Norman Connors, You Are My Starship. It’s an autobiography; a very exciting life.
SJM: Is it published yet?
Norman: No, I have to find a publisher.
SJM: What would you say is your personal motto?
Norman: Always be yourself and do whatever is in your heart and soul.
SJM: The music world had changed so much since you began. What is your advice for young musicians and how do you feel about the changes in the industry?
Norman: I don’t like a lot of the changes. When I came up Duke Ellington was here, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, you know, all of those great people.
Norman: Even on the R&B side like Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. When I grew up everybody was here and they ain’t here no more! There are new people coming up but it ain’t the same, it’s not the same but it’s all beautiful. I’m glad that people are creating and doing what they’re trying to do. I’m still having a good time but it’s lonely.
SJM: And why do you say that?
Norman: Because I used to be in Miles Davis’ house every day and walking down the street with him, walking down the street with Sonny Rollins, going over John Coltrane’s house, going on the road with Pharoah Sanders, concerts with Aretha Franklin, The Commodores, Lionel Richie, the Jacksons, Michael Jackson…I did a lot of things and it ain’t like that no more.
SJM: I know.
Norman: I’m just glad we’re still doing it. I’ve got a great band and this is their time and it’s all good. We’re going to record and make some music with new stars. Well, all these guys are stars but we want the world to know about it.
SJM: So what advice would you give to young artists now?
Norman: Keep studying. Study your history, study about all the great people who came up throughout the years because we have a very very rich heritage and art form. Always keep doing what you want to do; do whatever is in your heart and spirit and keep on going for it.
SJM: How do you want the public to remember you?
Norman: I want people to remember that I was a very very nice man and that I helped a lot of people. By me helping a lot of people, it helped me and I feel good about that. I want people to know that I played my heart out throughout the years, I just did the best I could and never tried to hurt nobody. And remember that I LOVE LOVE music….I JUST LOVE IT, and that’s it!
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought as a little girl that I’d ever get to see, yet interview, the man who created a classic song that has been in my head since childhood!
Thank you, Mr. Connors, for the interview, sharing your gifts and your love of music!
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