happy elf

Harry Connick, Jr.: Music From The Happy Elf (2011)

Publication: All About Jazz
Author: Dan Bilawsky
Date: December 18, 2011

“The Happy Elf” is just one of many numbers that Harry Connick, Jr. dished out on Harry For The Holidays (Sony/Columbia, 2003), but this particular song proved to be the seed for cross-marketing manna, which makes it a microcosm of the man himself. Connick has crooned his way into the hearts of millions, proven himself on piano time and again, conquered the silver screen, and taken Broadway by storm, but his most heartwarming talent may be that of “children’s entertainer.”

The opening track, which puts the music in the background and Connick’s Read-Along narration of his book in the foreground, highlights this new found role for the entertainer par excellence, but his piano takes its rightful place at center stage on the rest of the album. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 19th, 2011 — 11:55am

Harry Connick, Jr. – Music From The Happy Elf

Publication: The JazzPage
Author: Glenn Daniels
Date: December 9, 2011

If you’ve turned on a television any time during the yuletide season in most of the last decade, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of The Happy Elf animated special. Pianist and vocalist Harry Connick Jr is out with a collection of the music from that production, for which he created the original music. The tunes which accompany the story of Eubie, an ebullient little elf who wants to be part of Santa’s sleigh team is now released for the first time in an album package. Connick provides a colorful narrative reading with music at the beginning of project, but it’s his evocative piano work that is at the center of this effort. Joining him are bassist Neal Caine and drummer Arthur Latin, both longtime players in his big band. Even with though title and theme are holiday related, the music here is swinging and bluesy enough to enjoy anytime of the year. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 14th, 2011 — 10:38am

Critic's picks: Harry Connick, Jr. Trio, 'Music From The Happy Elf'; Ellis Marsalis, 'A New Orleans Christmas Carol'; Geri Allen, 'A Child Is Born'

Publication: Lexington Herald-Leader
Author: Walter Tunis
Date: December 12, 2011

How curious it is that three of the finer releases in an especially weak pack of new holiday recordings belong to jazz pianists whose take on yuletide sounds could not be more varied?

Pianist Harry Connick Jr.’s Music From The Happy Elf may be the most unexpected of the three. A veteran of several Christmas-themed recordings that showcase his big band and traditional (as well as overtly commercial) pop preferences, Elf presents the pianist in one of his most inviting and overlooked settings: the piano trio.

It’s hard not to smile at the percussive cracks of drummer Arthur Larkin and Connick’s sparse piano mischief during Naughty Children of Bluesville (which sounds like O Tannenbaum trying to escape from a blues cellar) or the way the light, lullaby turns of Christmas Day melt into the intimate swing of What a Night.

Music From The Happy Elf is, aside from a 10-minute opening medley with narration, completely instrumental. Add to that the fact that all of the music is original (but revisited from works Connick composed for the stage musical The Happy Elf) and you have a holiday recording risky and refreshing. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 12th, 2011 — 04:58pm

Harry Connick, Jr. Trio: The Happy Elf

Publication: JazzWeekly.com
Author: George Harris
Date: December 8, 2011

There’s just something about Harry Connick Jr. that you just gotta love. He’s got great musical instincts, and a heart for service, as he’s shown by his unrelenting assistance for NO post Katrina. Here, he’s put together a disc that serves as a companion to his children’s book, just in time for the Christmas Season. The disc begins with Connick telling the story from the book, with background music supplied by himself and his regular team of Arthur Latin/dr and Neal Caine/b. After that, it’s strictly instrumentals, with the remaining dozen tunes spotlighting Connick’s clever writing skills, as well as his impressive chops. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 8th, 2011 — 12:55pm

It's beginning to swing a lot like Christmas

Publication: Chicago Tribune
Author: Howard Reich
Date: December 6, 2011

It’s a Christmas miracle: Holiday music that’s actually worth hearing.

For reasons unknown, several major jazz artists have released seasonal recordings that don’t merely recycle music we’ve already been inundated with in the shopping mall. The best of these albums transcend cliché:

Harry Connick, Jr. Trio: “The Happy Elf” (Marsalis Music): Singer-pianist Connick penned the songs for the stage musical “The Happy Elf,” and here he reformats the score for a noble purpose: introducing young listeners to jazz. Connick narrates the tale in the opening track (which runs a little over 10 minutes), his jazz trio swinging in the background. After that, the album offers 12 tracks of unadulterated instrumental jazz, the music at once subtle and sophisticated enough for the connoisseur yet easily accessible to uninitiated ears. If young people are wooed by Connick’s opening recitation, perhaps they’ll let the record keep spinning. Here’s hoping. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 6th, 2011 — 04:59pm

Good Tidings to You: DownBeat’s Holiday Music Roundup

Publication: Downbeat
Date: December 5, 2011

Read the rest of Downbeat’s picks for holiday music here.

Harry Connick Jr. Trio: Music From The Happy Elf (Marsalis Music)
Music From The Happy Elf is a twofer. If you’ve got young children or grandchildren, The Happy Elf starts off with Connick reading his children’s story about Eubie, the happiest elf on the North Pole, with a sweet backing track by his trio. After that, you’ve got 13 Connick-penned tunes with some nice improvisation. With Neal Caine on bass and Arthur Latin on drums, the trio works out jazz instrumental versions of music written for the stage musical version of the book. And, for the first time, the music and the story are available in one neat holiday package. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 6th, 2011 — 01:22pm

'The Happy Elf’ song now a children’s book Read more: The Herald-Sun

Publication: Durham Herald-Sun
Author: Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan
Date: December 3, 2011

“Eubie, Eubie, Eubie.” So says Santa Claus to his elf that breaks North Pole rules – but all for the good of children at Christmas.

Musician, singer, composer and actor Harry Connick Jr. can add picture book author to his list of talents with the new children’s book “The Happy Elf” (Harper Collins, $17.99).

It’s a fun Christmas story about Eubie’s love for Christmas, so much so that he must find a way for children on the naughty list in Bluesville to move over to the nice list. It turns out unburnable coal looming over the town brings the blues to Bluesville, but Eubie has an idea of how to shine and spruce it up. He used his elf hat to transport himself, which is against North Pole rules, but all in the name of kindness.

It’s a sweet story aimed at children ages 4 to 8, but this reviewer’s 3-year-old loved it, too, every bit of the story as well as the illustrations by Dan Andreasen. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on December 5th, 2011 — 05:18pm