Harry Connick Jr.,
Other Hours
(Marsalis, 2003)

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It follows, then, that music is in the ear of the listener. One woman's or one man's fancy is likely very different from that of another. So, the blues for me are another color schema than they are for you. You'll be tested on this later! So when I think of visionary figures like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, as well as the unsung or unheard, I think of the Renaissance artist, male or female. Some of the artists I include in my own schema are David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Janis Joplin, Yo-Yo Ma and a fluid group of others. With the addition of Other Hours, Harry Connick joins the ranks of the Renaissance gang. It's about time.

In Other Hours, Connick wrote all the music and performs with a fine group of three other musicians, and it shows. Here he is joined by Charles "Ned" Goold on tenor saxophone, bassist Neal Caine and Arthur Latin II on drums.

The bluesy jazz allows the listener to be transported to an intimate club setting and feel privy to the inner workings of a quartet that flow more smoothly than homemade jam. As Connick has grown, so has his music. In the notes accompanying Other Hours, Connick notes that he originally created the music for this score for the Broadway musical Thou Shalt Not. Thus, pieces such as "What a Waste," the opening number, demonstrate that music can easily roam from silence to words, all within moments.

As a performer, Connick has shown that the songs he has written for other formats are played uniquely each time. With titles such as "What a Waste" and its Mickey Spillane wah-wah-wah brass, or "Take Advantage," which is light and airy, each listening brings its own experience. One of the more interesting aspects of this CD is that the music creates words within the listener's mind and helps him or her become part of the piece. My only complaint about this CD is that the cover art referred to, a painting by his late mother, has pride of place only for the person buying the CD -- I would have liked to have seen the painting, especially as it gives context to the overall tone. Such is life, such is jazz.

- Rambles
written by Ann Flynt
published 25 September 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.