Ayn McLaurin | Atlanta, GA | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like Harry Connick's big band work, and even some of his more experimental pieces, but this is essential Harry. I was born and raised near New Orleans, and good jazz and blues were standard fare for us growing up -- other people had nursery rhymes;we had Jelly Roll Morton. This album is vintage jazz/blues -- all you need to add is a smoke filled room and someone to snuggle with. It includes the classic "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" featuring the inimitable Dr. John, making this Crescent City favorite a standout piece. Mr Connick takes several standards, like "Avalon" and "Blue Skies" and makes them his own, using amazing piano work. His version of "If I Only Had a Brain" is almost tear jerking in its heartfelt halting phrasing, while "Imagination" is beautifully done -- you can hear the longing and insecurity in his voice. This is the album you want to slow dance to next to the fireplace with your one true love. If I were told I was going deaf next week, this would be the last album I would listen to, to imprint its rich and yet sparingly simple tunes on my memory.
I actually wrote this review in 2003, before Katrina. After the storm, pieces like "Basin Street Blues" and "Do You know What It Means To Miss New Orleans" mean even more than they did before. Many good albums have been recorded to benefit the city and its musical community; please purchase them and support a good cause. But please also listen to this album with a new understanding of what we as Americans (as well as the rest of the world) stand to loose if this city and its priceless musical heritage are lost. Vive la Nouvelle Orleans!"
My favorite Connick
Gloria Delores Mancuso | Cafe du Monde, French Quarter | 03/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This remains my favorite Harry Connick, Jr., recording, even though he's done a lot of fantastic work since. The song selection, and his brilliant interpretations of the material are especially amazing, given that he was just a young pup of 20 when he recorded this. Songs like "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?" and "Basin Street Blues" are as much a part of my home as the colorful streetscape outside of my window. He breathes freshness into other standards like "Blue Skies" and the peppy "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone." As a player and as a vocalist, Harry has an amazing sensitivity and maturity that hearkens back to the very greatest jazz masters--but he has a playfulness and sense of joy that brings the material to a whole new level. Enjoy!"