On Come by Me, he teams with his big band again (for the first time in seven years) to produce a very nice compilation of standards and originals. When I say standards, I mean that Connick has really reworked some old warhorses like "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Danny Boy," and "Cry Me a River." He does have a knack for turning what could be as boring as sitting through a long-winded congressional oratory into something novel though, such as transforming "Cry Me a River" into an appealing New Orleans funeral dirge.
If you're looking for a lot of high-stepping big-band tunes, however, then I must warn you that many of the songs on this CD are slow ballads. By far one of my favorite tunes here is the self-penned title track. This New Orleans-style swing number features some impressively quick piano work by Connick and a generally upbeat refrain that makes you want to snap your fingers. The other tune that I adore, and perhaps the most interesting song on the CD, is the funky instrumental "Next Door Blues," which combines big band and blues into an almost retro rhythmic jazz romp. Says Connick in his liner notes: "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." That's true music to my ears.
Harry Connick, Jr., and his Big Band perform at the Jackie Gleason Theater on Tuesday, August 24. See Concerts for details.