Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
I like Harry Connick Jr.. I saw an interview with Harry on the Tavis Smiley show where he refers to himself as a musical whore. Any artist that has achieved the amazing success that Connick enjoys and still maintains a passion for performing anywhere is to be admired if not celebrated. Problem with What Every Man Should Know is that there is not much here to cheer about.
This release is literally a Harry Connick Jr. joint from the ground up. Connick penned the lyrics, wrote the music and put the arrangements together and while the production quality and overall sound is first rate, the direction and focus are a bit muddled. Die hard Connick fans will and have flocked to it on name alone which is to be expected and partially why I have not bothered to take it for a spin till now. As the newest judge for American Idol, Connick is indeed a role model to emulate however this release reinforces that some artists have a wheelhouse for a reason.
The tunes here are embracing middle age and a uniquely personal look at love, loss, tragedy and the hope that dwells within us all. Guest artists include Branford and Wynton Marsalis but the addition of some of the finest talent Nashville has to offer immediately throws up a sonic disconnect. Granted an artist is only as creative as they feel the need to be, Great American Songbook covers and tight big band arrangements have been paying the bills. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Is the release "bad?" No...The release is different and different is not bad, just different. Will it bring new fans and followers into the fold? No...It is what it is. Consider this the musical version of Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree as all it may really need is just a little love.
Sorry, none here.