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Harry Connick, Jr.
Gets Funky Dunky
By Jennifer Buckley
Daily Arts Writer
All right. Confess, cheesy movie
fans. You all loved "When Harry Met
Sally ..." You still laugh when you
think of Meg Ryan's faked orgasm in
the deli scene. And besides, your
grandma really dug the tunes in the
film's score, performed by an impos-
sibly smooth-voiced young Frank
Sinatra sound-alike named Harry
Admit it. You sort ofdug the songs,
too. That's OK, you weren't alone.
Marc Shaiman's meticulous big-band
arrangements and Connick's fresh,
suave interpretations of such stan-
dards as "Don't Get Around Much
Anymore," "Where or When" and "It
Had to Be You" enraptured many a
movie fan, and the film's soundtrack
went quickly multi-platinum.
Five years, six more platinum-
selling albums and three Grammys
later, Connick surprised fans of his
big-band style by releasing last year's
"She," a laid-back, good-time mix of
dance, funk, pop and jazz drawing
extensively on the 26 year-old
musician's New Orleans roots.
Last June, Connick and anew five-
piece band called Funky Dunky set
out on tour to promote the new album.
Earlier this month, they commenced
a 21-date tour of college towns na-
"I thought it would be a lot of fun,"
said Connick of playing to college
crowds. "The college kids have been
buying the record, so we wanted to
thank them for it."
Connick noticed a much younger
and more energetic crowd in atten-
dance during their summer tour for
"It's been younger, for sure. My
audience has been young all along,
but before it had a lot of older people
mixed into it, and I don't think this is
music of their generation," Connick
With "She," Connick risked alien-
ating older fans grown accustomed to
his impeccably cool stage persona,
which often seemed as retro as his
music. For this tour, though, Harry
scrapped the dandyish duds and
slicked-back hair in favor of a more
relaxed, collegiate t-shirt and jeans.
He insists that his new, hipper
image and musical style is part of a
natural and necessary progression. "I
don't want to hurt any (fans') feel-
Where: Hill Auditorium
When: 8 p.m. tomorrow
Tickets are $20 and $25 in
ings," he commented, "but they should
realize that I have to do what I enjoy
doing, and I will certainly return to
(big band) at some point."
And he certainly seems to enjoy
himself on "She." Enlisting the aid of
hometown R&B boys George Porter,
Jr. on bass and drummer Joseph
Modaliste, Connick mines New Or-
leans-style jazz traditions on tracks
like the instrumental "Funky Dunky"
and employs slick R&B harmonies
on "Between Us" while retaining his
trademark lengthy piano solos and
smooth tenor vocals.
Genuinely rocking, bluesy elec-
tric guitar solos add life to the single
"(If I Could Only) Whisper Your
Name" and "Honestly Now (Safety's
Just Danger ... Out of Place)." Pro-
ducer Tracey Freeman pushes Porter's
propulsive bass to the front of the mix
on the album's title track and its com-
panion song, "She ... Blessed Be the
Harry Connck Jr. Is a talented mucisian, even as a rock star.
It's a significant departure from
the big-band and popified jazz sounds
that made Connick successful - and
drew sharp criticism from jazz fans
and critics. Especially harsh were re-
views of his 1990 jazz trio effort,
"Lofty's Roach Souffl6."
Some jazz fans praised Connick
for attracting new listeners who oth-
erwise might have ignored jazz; crit-
ics and hard-corejazz fans complained
of the young musician's lack of real
improvisation and complexity.
Connick, who studied with Big Easy
pianist James Booker as a teenager
while also receiving classical piano
training, ignores such criticism.
"That stuff means nothing to me,"
he insisted. "I'm having agreat (time).
I'm pretty indifferent to what (critics)
have to say, let's put it that way."
Despite such comments, Connick
considers himself first a jazz pia-
nist. To those who consider his hook-
filled music too "pop," he offered,
"Pop is just popular, and I like to be
popular. But I'm a jazz musician
who plays other kinds of music. But
I do want to be popular, so I guess
I'm kind of both (a pop musician
and a jazz player). "
Make no mistake, Harry Connick,
Jr. is just out to have a good time, and
he wants nothing more than for a
whole mess of folks to come to his
party. As he announces on "Here
Comes the Parade," "Step aside / the
groove's gonna take a ride."
And while he plans to ride the
funk-based groove of "She" for a
while, Connick doesn't rule out re-
turning to his earlier big-band sound.
"This (new sound) is not progress at
all! This is real simpleton music ...
real easy. Hopefully, I'll get back to
work at some point," he laughed.
The current popularity of such big-
band era artists as Tony Bennett
pleases Connick to no end. "I think
it's terrific that he's got this newfound
interest in his career. I'm real happy
for him. He's a good friend."
And Connick wouldn't rule out
appearing on MTV, as Bennett did
with his "Unplugged" special, to bring
his music to an even wider audience.
"We're performers," he explained.
"We don't care where we perform.
We just want to (be onstage)."
Continued from page 9
change a thing. That's the whole
name of the game, and to debut at
no. 35 (on the Billboard Top 200)
in 1995 with long blond hair down
to your ass is a fucking feat right
there." (At this point he laughed
and started singing "My Way")
Speaking of regrets, has he had
"No, no," he quickly replied,
then changed his mind. "Well,
yeah, that t-shirt I wore. But I
mean if you had a microscope on
you and you were 19 years old and
had a million bucks in your pocket
and you were on TV every 20 sec-
onds, you'd be getting in trouble
Nineteen years old and an MTV
sensation (think about that, fresh-
men) to a 26 year-old father of
two ... so are Skid Row still the
"youth gone wild"?
"If 26, 27 is still youth, yeah,"
he laughed. "I'll have to get the 'I
was the ...' tattoo right on my
upper bicep. But it's like Roger
Daltrey, he sang 'My Generation.'
The people in front of us are the
youth, and we're still wild, that's
good enough for us."
University of Michigan graduates
and all students from New York,
New Jersey, and Connecticut!
You are invited to attend a dinner to hear Joe Roberson, Ath-
letic Director of the U. of M., speak at the U. of M. Club of
Northern Jersey's annual meeting in Morristown,:"New Jersey
on Friday, May 12, 1995.
The meeting will kick off with a reception followed by dinner
and our guest speaker, Joe Roberson. For the first twenty
responses the cost of the dinner will be $15, $30 for all others.
to buy your
Speaker: Joe Roberson,
Michigan Athletic Director
Headquarters Plaza Hotel
A TTPadauzrters P1272