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What a Night! - A Christmas Album

Harry Connick, Jr.

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Album Review

His third holiday-themed album, 2008's What a Night! A Christmas Album continues vocalist/pianist Harry Connick, Jr.'s tradition of delivering swinging jazz and pop versions of various tinsel tunes new and old. Recorded with a big band and orchestra, this is a terrific collection of songs making the most of Connick's knack for modern-day crooning and rambunctious small-group jazz. There is warmth, sophistication, and urbane romanticism to Connick's work here that should draw well-earned comparisons to similar classic albums by the likes of Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Nat King Cole, and others. However, rather than sounding like a retro affair, What a Night! delivers on Connick's promise of updating the traditional pop sound of his idols for a contemporary audience. It doesn't hurt, either, that Connick is joined here by a bevy of first-rate musicians, including vocalist Kim Burrell and trombonist/vocalist Lucien Barbarin on two duets, not to mention the stellar backing musicians. Even Kate Connick, Harry's daughter, makes an appearance for a charming duet with her dad on "Winter Wonderland." It's also refreshing to hear a few rambling small-group jazz numbers like "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies," which help remind listeners how nimble and inventive a jazz pianist Connick truly is. More than just a great Christmas album, What a Night! is the type of record you just might find yourself turning to well into the new year.

Biography

Born: 11 September 1967 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With very few exceptions, the career of Harry Connick, Jr., can be divided in half — his first two albums encompassed straight-ahead New Orleans jazz and stride piano while his later career (which paralleled his rising celebrity status) alternated between more contemporary New Orleans music and pop vocals with a debt to Frank Sinatra. Born in New Orleans on September 11, 1967, Connick grew up the son of two lawyers who owned a record store. After beginning on keyboards at the age of three,...
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