Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Harry Connick, Jr.: What a Night! A Christmas Album (CD Review)

This is Connick’s third (third and a half if you count When Harry Met Sally, since it has some Christmas songs on it) Christmas album, and really, do we need that many Christmas albums by one person? I mean, I love the guy. I’ve seen him in concert three times, have most of his CDs, and even liked him on Will & Grace (but not as much as I did on Copycat), but c’mon. Three? Really?

Connick is a wonderful singer, piano player, songwriter, and composer. He will always be included in my top ten list of favorite musical performers. I just can’t get excited about this CD, though. It’s same-old same-old for the guy. There’s absolutely nothing on this CD that you can’t get from the previous two. Yes, I know that he doesn’t actually repeat any songs, but c’mon. Out of the 15 tracks on the CD, four are new songs. The rest are holiday standards. Some he does with orchestral backing, the other with his big band.

I’d have to say the low point of the CD is his jazz arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies. Some things are classic for a reason and do not need to be updated.

He’s got three duets on the album, two with Kim Burrell and one with his daughter, Kate. I generally don’t enjoy female jazz singers, at least the ones I’ve heard. Actually, I’m not that big on big-band vocalists in general. I enjoy listening to the instruments. Perhaps it’s because of my time playing sax in various jazz bands in high school and college. So I’m not a big fan of the duets here, although I will give the guy props for exploiting, I mean including, his daughter. While I didn’t care for her voice, I’m sure it was a fun time for father and daughter.

So if you’re looking for some Christmas music, my recommendation would be to find Connick’s first Christmas album, When My Heart Finds Christmas. If you’ve already got that, then search out something else, something NOT by Mr. Connick, Jr. Venture outside your comfort zone. Be random, be spontaneous, be adventurous, be daring! Or don’t listen to me. Be that way.

Listening to: Panic at the Disco - Nine in the Afternoon
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Kate said...

I've never bothered to move beyond his first Christmas cd - I love his arrangement of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve."