Anyone following the brilliant career of Harry Connick, Jr. knows there are many
musical sides to his personality: Big Band, New Orleans funk, classic American
standards, straight ahead jazz, and devilishly clever original songs all comprise
the colors of Harry's palette. Now, he brings it all together on 'Come By Me', Harry's
latest Columbia release. A seamless collection of standards and originals, the new
album shows why Harry Connick, Jr. easily takes his place alongside the best of
composers and performers.
Teaming as usual with producer Tracey Freeman, Harry reunited his 16-piece Big Band
and brought in a full symphony orchestra to punctuate his own spectacular orchestrations
and arrangements. Recorded at L.A.'s Capitol Studios last July, 'Come By Me' is the
work of a mature artist having come fully into his own voice.
The album kicks off with a pair of Connick originals, the sleek "Nowhere With Love"
and "Come By Me," a rollicking New Orleans stomper. The Henry Mancini classic
"Charade" is given a double-time rendition by Harry, the Big Band and strings, while
on Irving Berlin's "Change Partners," Harry experiments with lush orchestration,
including parts for English horn, bassoon and French horn. Harry's own "Easy For You
To Say" is a sly ballad, so self-assured it could be mistaken for a Gershwin or Arlen
classic. "I'm still learning," says Harry, "so a lot of my work will be based on the
great songwriters of the past. They've really had an effect on me."
On "Time After Time," Harry's piano playing takes center stage, while "Next Door Blues"
draws on the rich musical heritage of New Orleans. Says Harry, "That's the direction
I'm headed, exploring the music I grew up with in the context of a Big Band. I'll be
doing a lot more of this in the future." Leave it to Harry to take a war-horse like
"There's No Business Like Show Business" and turn it into something utterly fresh and
original, in this case a sly syncopated romp. Harry's own "A Moment With Me" blends
Big Band and strings in a muted plea for love. The beautiful Irish air "Danny Boy"
is given a reverential performance, while the classic "Cry Me A River" is transformed
into a stately New Orleans funeral dirge. Harry closes the album with a red hot
rendition of Cole Porter's "Love For Sale," with the full Big Band and orchestra.
Given the many years Harry Connick, Jr. has been a fixture on the American music scene,
it's stunning to realize he is only 31 years old. But despite the many accolades and
awards he's received, Harry finds his ultimate artistic goals still elusive. "Music
is difficult," he says. "It takes a long time to figure it out. Right now, I'm just
taking my time to keep learning my craft." If 'Come By Me' is any indication, he hasn't
far to go.