Harry Connick, Jr. is an enduring jazz presence even at the age of 34. He has played several entertainment roles that include pianist, singer, composer, arranger, and actor. Other Hours
is not the versatile musician’s first instrumental recording. Connick released the trio outing Lofty’s Roach Soufflé
in 1990. That disc was composed of all Connick originals, heavily influenced by Thelonious Monk. Other Hours
is not too far from that influence either. The 12 compositions on Other Hours
were originally composed for the 2001 Broadway musical Thou Shall Not
. Considering that design, all of the songs hang well together, creating an atmosphere of closely written and performed Tin Pan Alley tunes, the new standards.
It is hard to defend a recording like this considering the considerable vocal talents of the principal artist. We know that Connick can sing. His singing is characterized by an eyes-half-closed southern laconic patois that is both sensual and smart. The same characteristics are present in his pianism, which betrays his New Orleans’ roots in the sheer musicality of his playing. Cue up "Can’t We Tell" and "Dumb Luck," or, for that matter, "What a Waste" and hear Connick’s smiling personality whether in the upbeat or pensive ballad. I am excited by the prospect of more instrumental Connick, perhaps a standards recording?