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Harry Connick, Jr.: Your Songs

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Last we heard from Harry Connick Jr., he was firing on all cylinders with the simultaneous release of Oh My Nola and Chanson du Vieux Carré, his twin-engine, high-octane homage to his hurricane-ravaged hometown. So it’s initially disconcerting to hear him take such a dramatic U-turn, downshifting to easy-glide for 14 covers that run a smooth gamut from Rodgers & Hammerstein to Bacharach & David. Connick’s widely stated intent was to indeed change gears and craft an album that focused on vocals.

Much has been made of his unprecedented willingness to cede a degree of artistic control by collaborating with seasoned gold miner Clive Davis. Yes, Davis’ fingerprints are clearly evident, notably on the pop orientation of the playlist and the shifting of the needle away from jazz and toward easy listening. But Connick maintained controlling interest, writing all of the arrangements and orchestrations, overruling Davis’ objection of certain tunes (notably “Some Enchanted Evening,” easily the album’s best track) and encouraging longtime pals and frequent collaborators Wynton and Branford Marsalis to add guest solos on three tracks.

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