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Harry Connick, Jr.: Direct Hits

Real jazz artists don’t do sitcoms. Real jazz artists don’t star in romantic comedies or revivals of frothy Broadway musicals. Real jazz artists don’t cover Elton John or Elvis or the Carpenters. So would argue some hardcore purists. But they’d be stymied by Harry Connick Jr., who has done all these things plus a whole lot more and, true to his New Orleans jazz roots, still manages to keep it real.

When, precisely two decades ago, Connick’s participation in the mega-selling When Harry Met Sally… soundtrack ignited an initial shockwave of popularity, his similarity to the young Frank Sinatra was widely noted. Connick was 22 at the time, about the same age as Sinatra when he zoomed to stardom after joining the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Connick’s dashing good looks and inveterate cockiness helped fuel the Sinatra comparisons, as did his overtly stated desire to use music as the foundation for building a multi-faceted showbiz career.

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