like Roy Ayers, George Benson and Patrice Rushen, is
best known for his major R&B hits but started out
as a jazz musician. The drummer/composer was born and
raised in Philadelphia, where he lived in the same neighborhood
as Bill Cosby and became interested in jazz when he
was only a child. As a kid in elementary school, Connors
was exposed to jazz extensively thanks to such schoolmates
as drummer Lex Humphries and the younger brother of
bassist and Jazz-Messenger-to-be Spanky De Brest.
Connors was in junior high when
he began sneaking into jazz clubs and sat in for Elvin
Jones on a John Coltrane gig. Connors went on to study
music at Philly's Temple University and Juilliard School
of Music in New York. Gigs with Jackie McLean, Jack
McDuff and Sam Rivers further shaped his jazz roots,
and presented him with the opportunity to record as
a sideman with Archie Shepp for Shepp’s 1967 Impulse!
session Magic of JuJu.