Other Hours: Connick on Piano, Vol. 1 by Harry Connick Jr. | 11661330429 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Other Hours: Connick on Piano, Vol. 1

Other Hours: Connick on Piano, Vol. 1

3.3 3
by Harry Connick Jr.
     
 
It’s old news that Harry Connick Jr. is an accomplished pianist and a fine composer, but with this all-instrumental album he also asserts himself as an exemplary small-group leader. Interpreting tunes that he wrote for the Tony-nominated yet commercially unsuccessful musical Thou Shalt Not, Connick leads an alert quartet with vision and confidence. Connick has

Overview

It’s old news that Harry Connick Jr. is an accomplished pianist and a fine composer, but with this all-instrumental album he also asserts himself as an exemplary small-group leader. Interpreting tunes that he wrote for the Tony-nominated yet commercially unsuccessful musical Thou Shalt Not, Connick leads an alert quartet with vision and confidence. Connick has an agreeably eccentric piano style that brings together interesting influences, including Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk; thankfully, he avoids the post-bop clichés that stick to younger jazz pianists’ hands like glue. His compositions are often memorable -- as befits works that stemmed from a Broadway musical -- and Connick and his group feel comfortable enough with the material to thoughtfully expand on it. Bassist Neal Caine and drummer Arthur Latin II form a responsive and musical rhythm section, but the real treat is the understated tenor saxophone of Charles “Ned” Gold, whose theme statements and solos are consistent high points of a surprisingly striking project.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Harry Connick, Jr. spent most of the '90s exploring second-line funk, making a name for himself in movies, and generally distancing himself from his classic crooner image. By the late '90s, it seemed as if the pianist/vocalist had lost the plot and it was hard to remember what made him such a phenomenal jazz talent. Then came 1997's romantic orchestral album To See You, followed by Connick's response to the neo-swing movement of the late '90s, Come by Me. Both of these albums featured Connick performing straight-ahead jazz that capitalized on his "American songbook"-style composing abilities and urbane, laconic vocal drawl. It was clear he was finally returning to his jazz roots with mature chops and a modern sophistication all his own. In this spirit, 2003's Other Hours featuring Charles "Ned" Goold on tenor sax, Neal Caine on bass, and Arthur Latin II on drums is Connick's return to playing straight-ahead, all original, modern instrumental jazz. Not since 1990's Lofty's Roach Souffle has the musician-turned-actor attempted this, and maybe he really shouldn't have. That is not to say Other Hours is bad; on the contrary, it showcases the entertainer's finely developed piano chops as well as his engaging compositional style. It's just that to deny such a strong aspect of his talent as his singing in favor of a more "serious" musical endeavor -- i.e., an instrumental jazz album -- is to somehow drain a bit of the fun and romance out of the proceedings. However, Connick's appearance at the Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration concert proved he still had the improvisational knack -- his solo turn sitting next to Ellis Marsalis was easily one of the night's highlights. In fact, the elder Marsalis' influence can be heard throughout the disc, especially on the post-bop set-opener "What a Waste." It's nice to hear the man some once thought of as a Sinatra-wannabe attacking some up-tempo swingers with a bumptious New Orleans glee. It is also refreshing to hear a few of his other influences come to the fore, as the pairing of Goold and Connick on tunes like "How About Tonight" brings to mind the Dave Brubeck quartet with Paul Desmond. Elsewhere, Connick oozes a Gershwin-like melancholy on "My Little World," waxes Thelonious Monk on "Dumb Luck," and delivers the bittersweet "'nuff said" ballad "Can't We Tell." OK, we get it, Harry Connick, Jr. is a legitimate jazz pianist, but one can only assume there are lyrics to some of these songs, and it would have been nice to hear them.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/15/2003
Label:
Marsalis Music
UPC:
0011661330429
catalogNumber:
613304

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Other Hours: Connick on Piano, Vol. 1 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a waste should have been the title. So disappointing. Please do what I failed to do and listen to the samples of the cd before you waste your time and money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was just introduced to Harry Connick Jr. and "Other Hours" is my first purchase. I absolutely fell in love with it. It is wonderful music and I will certainly buy more of Mr. Connick's releases hoping that I will be just as pleased as with this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Without question, you'll be hearing this album in the near future upon venturing through the doors of your local--dare I say?--Barnes & Noble. WHY is simple. "Other Hours" is wonderful ambiance music. It's bass, drum kit, tenor sax and piano. What's not to like? I don't normally enjoy strictly "jazz" albums, but I made an exception for this CD, and have been rewarded. Even without vocals, this collection paints a nice portrait of Harry Connick's life-blood style, and puts him where he does best: at the piano, with three close friends. It's sophisticated music. It's thinking music. It's put-it-on-at-work-and-see-just-how-much-quality-work-you'll-get-done-w hile-listening music. Very nice. I'm enjoying "Other Hours" immensely