Funny, because he’s everywhere, but despite the impact his early albums — particularly his famous soundtrack to “When Harry Met Sally” and big band “We Are in Love” — had on me as an aspiring crooner, I honestly hadn’t kept up with many of his recordings over the last 30 (seriously?) years.
This is no knock on him, my musical interests simply had me going in other directions.
That said, it was a recent NPR article which alerted me to his new album of Cole Porter tunes, “True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter.” So one afternoon as I slaved away on the day job, I gave it a listen.
Quite honestly, it blew me away. Like Sinatra in his Capital years, I came away with the feeling that Harry Connick Jr had matured vocally into his voice. Obviously, working with Porter material gives you a great advantage in that department, but more than that, I felt he had life behind him to deliver the lyrics of the songbook with a depth we simply don’t have in our 20s.
But the album’s strength is more than that. Harry Connick Jr. brings another advantage to the table in that he arranges his own music. Knowing what the arranger has in mind allows the vocalist to use his voice to caress the music in a way others cannot, and vice versa. He was always a good arranger, but on this album, I think he created charts that match up with the best, Riddle included.
Simply put, I think this album is worth a listen. Especially if, like me, you haven’t checked in in a while. It certainly made an impression on me, enough to put it down into electronic posterity. And it’s definitely going into the rotation.