This is not a disc by Harry Connick Jr. the suave, Frank Sinatra-like crooner or even the jazz pianist (who studied with Ellis Marsalis, father of Wynton and Branford). Instead, audiences are reintroduced to Connick the arranger/bandleader conferring a tribute to his native New Orleans on his latest disc, Chanson du Vieux Carré. But this isn´t a reverent history lesson or mournful homage. Leading his 17-piece orchestra in exuberant readings of songs from/about N´awlins including gems by homies Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet, plus a handful of originals Connick´s combo blows the doors off the joint with plenty of taut ensemble playing and brassy swing. Notable exceptions are the urbane, Duke Ellington-like gentility bestowed upon Bechet´s ballad ¨Petite Fleur¨ and ¨New Orleans,¨ which contrasts poetically pensive solos with exhilaratingly twisty big-band passages. For the most part, Chanson overflows with unreserved joie de vivre, á la Count Basie (at the Count´s 1930s and ´50s peaks) and Billy May´s arrangements for Sinatra´s ´50s Capitol albums. And that´s a good thing. Connick was starting to become a one-trick pony with the Sinatra rip-offs, but Chanson is all swing.
Recommended For You
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!