Publication: Indianapolis Star
Author: Jay Harvey
Date: November 28, 2011
Critics tend to turn sour (I know: How can anyone tell, right?) when they reread news releases just before setting down their own thoughts on one or another Cultural Product. Videlicet: I wish Marsalis Music hadn’t called Harry Connick Jr.’s “Music from The Happy Elf” CD “ a “new instrumental holiday classic. ” True, Connick’s story about Eubie has a back story that indicates success, including use of the material to inspire a Christmas TV special and a stage musical. Now it’s a picture book, too, and the CD opens with Connick doing a spirited “read-along” version of “The Happy Elf” before he and his trio settle into a lively program of the tunes Connick created for the show.
But I come to praise this CD, not to bury it. The music on its own makes for a great introduction to jazz for young people — as catchy as Vince Guaraldi’s fabled “Charlie Brown Christmas” tunes, but a bit rangier in the improvised portions. Connick has come up with something infectious rhythmically or melodically in these dozen tunes. Read more »