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Author: Jeff Simon
Date: November 20, 2011
Among the many things this disc isn’t are the following: 1) A children’s record, despite the original Connick story (published by HarperCollins) the pianist reads on its opening 10-minute cut and 2) A negligible throwaway in the blizzard of questionable “seasonal goods” right about now. While it presents trio variations on Connick’s music for his “Happy Elf” stage musical with bassist Neal Caine and drummer Arthur Latin, its pleasure is the pleasure of listening to some of Connick’s most clever and rhythmically winsome piano-playing on disc in quite a while. It is, in fact, the fourth in a series of Harry-and-piano that has so far appeared on the label of his old New Orleans friends Wynton and Branford Marsalis. Think of it, minus a semi-ignorable narrative, as a hugely welcome and entirely original disc of Connick piano jazz. Praise be to the holiday season for giving Harry “permission” to make it. Three stars out of four.
*Note from Marsalis Music: Wynton Marsalis is not involved with our label.