"RIGHT FROM THE START this CD’s mood is set… the kind of power that comes from assured artists: not only from Connor, whose versatility in style is matched only by his remarkable control and timbre, but also from the remarkable instrumentalists. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS CD RINGS TRUE. "
- Phillip Elwood - Music Reviewer & Columnist (San Francisco Examiner)
John Buddy Connor - Cant Hide Love
"Can’t Hide Love" - John "Buddy" Conner
Little known outside of the Bay Area clubs that have buttered his bread since the 1950’s, jazz vocalist BUDDY CONNOR both caresses ballads and shouts the blues on his long overdue and highly satisfying debut album. The repertoire of tunes by Earth, Wind & Fire, Truman Capote, Harold Arlen, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach, John Coltrane, Billy Eckstine and local composer Carroll Coates is imaginatively eclectic; the singer’s distinctively resonant low tenor tones and commanding delivery coupled with the solid rhythm section’s straight ahead swing and handsomely crafted charts by bassist Dave Enos and the late saxophonist Ron Stallings give the set stylistic continuity. Saxophonists Wilton Felder, Hollis Gentry, John Handy and Robert Stewart, guitarist Carl Lockett, pianist Spencer Allen, organist John Turk and the late drummer Gaylord Birch are among Connor’s outstanding supporting cast.
- Lee Hilderbrand (Music Critic - San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, Oakland Post)
John “Buddy” Conner
The tall elegantly dressed Conner whose style has been compared to such jazz stylists as Billy Eckstine and Arthur Prysock has experimented with different musical styles, including rhythm and Blues and Rock. After taking a break from the music scene for financial reasons and spending several years as a Muni bus driver, Connor returned to the jazz club scene and was hired by the late Earl "Fatha" Hines as his lead vocalist. "I sang Everyday I Have the Blues," Connor recalled with a smile. Fatha said, "That’s enough. You’ve got the job." Connor toured with "Fatha" for two years. Connor soon after was recognized for his contribution to the jazz scene. He was nominated as outstanding jazz-blues performer in the annual Cabaret Gold Awards.
- Doris Worsham - Music Critic & Columnist (Oakland Tribune)
John Buddy Connor
My dear friend and his best friend because he was always with me when he was sometimes really somewhere else. A giant of a man and vocalist he was one of the greatest entertainers I’ve ever worked with. His confidence on stage and his ability to make audiences respond to his presence was phenomenal. Every performance the bar never dropped. I first heard Buddy sing in the early nineties at Ivy’s in Oakland’s Jack London Square. I was the Band Leader for the Sunday jam session there. I hired him on the spot. I later performed in his band Entourage for about four years. Pianist Spencer Allen and Bassist Dave Enos were also in that band. When John Handy and Pharaoh Sanders called me looking for a vocalist, I didn’t hesitate to recommend Buddy. They both knew that I don’t mess around when it comes to vocalists and they hired Buddy pretty much on the spot. I truly believe Buddy died just a few years short of receiving national attention and joining all the greatest jazz vocalist’s that ever lived in the Jazz Hall of Fame. His Cd, “Can’t Hide Love,” represents a little piece of what he could and should have been, one of the greatest jazz vocalist of his time. I was there the last moments of his life and though at the end he was unconscious every one there at his bed side swears they saw him try to laugh at one of my stupid jokes. That makes me feel good.
- Paul Tillman Smith - Berkeley Juneteenth Festival Music Coordinator, Record Producer, Songwriter, Drummer, & Band Leader