HARRY CONNICK, Records and CDs
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A gifted singer, pianist and actor, Harry Connick Jr. was poised to become one of the biggest stars of the 1990s. That didn't quite happen, though Connick is big -- both as an actor and a performer. A native of New Orleans, he was a child prodigy who excelled at jazz piano, and the music of his hometown has always informed his work. After the handsome and charismatic Connick took a friend's advice and threw on some retro duds, he quickly landed a major recording contract. His first two albums were jazz piano affairs, but after his pseudo-soundtrack for When Harry Met Sally (done in Frank Sinatra's patented 1950s Swingin' Lovers style) became a surprise smash hit that stayed atop the jazz charts for years, Connick kept the Sinatra thing going for a while. Then came an ill-advised but heartfelt New Orleans R&B detour. His old school R&B wasn't embarrassing, but since he'd always incorporated New Orleans R&B into his big band work, it did feel a bit redundant. When Connick returned to jazz-based pop music with 1997's To See You , one could hear his renewed enthusiasm - in fact, his recordings from this point on are actually much better and more exciting than his earlier, better-selling releases. Many... Read More|
... critics have failed to see (or hear) how much Connick's singing, songwriting and piano playing have matured over the years. A gifted musical mimic, his single greatest development may be in the unheralded field of arrangements; his imaginative band charts on albums such as Come By Me and Songs I Heard show an originality and spark that would earn him acclaim in the jazz world if he weren't a pop star. While neither original nor cutting edge, his music is often very good, and well before the reemergence of Tony Bennett and the coming of Diana Krall, Connick brought mainstream acoustic jazz back to a public that didn't realize how much they'd missed it.
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