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ZZ Top
Artist: Harry Connick Jr
Label: Sony
Genre: Jazz
Release: Oct 2003   My Rating: 0
Duration: 3:34
Summary: Call him the retro Sinatra, the keeper of the big band flame, the swingin' piano man, but Harry Connick Jr., remains one of New Orleans' treasures. His second Christmas CD is as much a salute to his hometown musical roots as it is to the season. Filled with second-line arrangements and fierce horn charts that could blow all that holiday chill back to Canada, Connick's latest revisits upbeat standards such as "Frosty The Snowman," "Blue Christmas," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," and others. Most swing and romp, but the hymns are given the reverential vocal treatment that Connick is known for on his more secular love ballads. Surprises include a quirky arrangement of "Silver Bells," in what sounds all the world like a Henry Mancini score for an action film. And there's four Connick originals that don't quite match the level of the covers, except for what must be the oddest pairing of talents all season, the duet with country singer George Jones on "Nothin' New For the New Year," an inspired tune and performance from two master stylists. There's nothing quite as lasting as the chestnut he penned on his first Christmas CD, "I Pray on Christmas," but for fans, here's a merry Harry N'awlins holiday love fest. "--Martin Keller"


Artist: Harry Connick Jr
Label: Sony
Genre: christmas
Release: Jan 1999   My Rating: 0
Duration: 2:36
Summary: New Orleans pianist, singer, and songwriter Harry Connick Jr. has done what many makers of Christmas records strive for but seldom achieve: he's made a Christmas record that sounds convincingly like a '40s period piece and rigorously like a cool, contemporary jazz disc. His powerful, self-written Christmas songs sound like polished standards, and he delivers the whole package with a sassy, vocal economy (with the occasional New Orleans accent) and an orchestral richness that is never indulgent or overwhelming. "When My Heart Finds Christmas" is a true classic that no lover of big-band jazz and singing (in the Sinatra style)--and Christmas music--should be without. There are so many great moments here that singling any one out would be at the expense of the others. Still, the reverential, solo-piano intro to "Ave Maria," Connick's own "(It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus," (a rousing, second-line swing tune), and his triumphant "I Pray on Christmas" (a get-happy-now gospel song) deserve mention if only because they'll earn Connick extra credit in heaven and on Earth. "--Martin Keller"