13 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The songbook album tradition reaches way back in American pop. But the usual approach is for the crooner to come in and croon, while the arrangers and conductors and orchestras work behind the scenes. In this case, Harry Connick, Jr., on his debut for Verve Records, arranged and conducted the orchestra himself, and played piano—and, oh yes, sang. His voice is crisp and clean, getting at every nuance in these Porter gems, from the widely known (“Just One of Those Things,” “Begin the Beguine”) to the not terribly common (“Mind If I Make Love to You”). Underneath the crowd-pleasing aesthetic is the work of someone—a native New Orleanian—with high musical standards and authentic jazz cred.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The songbook album tradition reaches way back in American pop. But the usual approach is for the crooner to come in and croon, while the arrangers and conductors and orchestras work behind the scenes. In this case, Harry Connick, Jr., on his debut for Verve Records, arranged and conducted the orchestra himself, and played piano—and, oh yes, sang. His voice is crisp and clean, getting at every nuance in these Porter gems, from the widely known (“Just One of Those Things,” “Begin the Beguine”) to the not terribly common (“Mind If I Make Love to You”). Underneath the crowd-pleasing aesthetic is the work of someone—a native New Orleanian—with high musical standards and authentic jazz cred.

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