Who is the real Harry Connick, Jr.? Is he a big band singer, a gifted pianist, a purveyor of New Orleans funk, or an introspective crooner? The answer is somewhere in the middle of this musical miasma.
To my ears, I prefer Connick’s ventures into the funkier edges of his New Orleans roots (She
and Star Turtle
) than his trio work or his more calculated big band ventures. Unfortunately, neither of Connick’s two new releases is in that vein. 30
, the subject of this review, finds Connick looking at that age where the years ahead of us are fewer than the years past. Following the same format as his previous releases 20
is a collection of standards performed by Connick and three guest performers. Like those two previous collections, 30
suffers from Connick’s lack of emotional connection to most of the song selections. Connick does rise to the occasion on "There Is Always One More Time", a duet with the Rev. James Moore, a riotous gospel song that Connick sings with gusto but also shows off his vocal limitations. He does grab onto Fats Domino’s "I’m Walkin’", playing the piano with fervor. But 30
mainly drowns in a pool of forced sincerity and smarminess.