Saturday, June 05, 2010

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Just wild about Harry

Go looking online for video clips of Harry Connick, Jr., and you'll find him in all sorts of places doing all sorts of things - hanging out with the First Lady and speaking to kids at the White House, hoofing on Broadway, teaming up with Branford Marsalis to raise funds and awareness for for Habitat for Humanity's Musicians Village development in New Orleans, and plenty more - and that's not even counting his various dramatic and comedic acting roles in TV and movies.

Connick, who will be in St. Louis next Friday, June 11 to perform at the Fox Theatre, has attained the sort of celebrity status rarely awarded a jazz musician these days, but you don't have to follow all the aspects of his multi-hyphenate career to appreciate his skills as a singer, piano player and bandleader. Today, we've got some videos showing off some different aspects of Connick's music, from smooth crooning of standards and pop hits to New Orleans funk and big band swing.

First up is a clip from his appearance earlier this year on TV's "American Idol," singing his version of the Beatles' hit "And I Love Her," as recorded for the recent CD Your Songs. It's interesting that his vocals here are slightly but noticeably rougher and looser than the technically precise style he often displayed in first part of his career, a development that recalls the way the voice of Frank Sinatra, one of Connick's major influences, changed as he moved into middle age.

Down below is an older clip of Connick showing off that Sinatra influence on "It Had To Be You," recorded back in the early 1990s for a variety show on British TV. (Pay close attention, and you'll also get a couple of glimpses of St. Louis native Jeremy Davenport in the trumpet section.)

In the third slot, there's a 2008 performance of Connick working out on Allen Toussaint's "Yes We Can Can," for an Australian TV program. Finally, in the fourth position you'll see another older clip of Connick doing "All of Me," from a DVD called The New York Big Band Concert.

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