Harry For The Holidays Harry Connick, Jr.
1. Frosty The Snow Man 2. Blue Christmas 3. The Christmas Waltz 4. I Wonder As I Wander 5. Silver Bells 6. Mary's Little Boy Child 7. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 8. The Happy Elf 9. I'll Be Home For Christmas 10. I Come With Love 11. Nature Boy 12. Little Town Of Bethlehem 13. I'm Gonna Be The First One 14. This Christmas 15. Nothin' New For New Year 16. Silent Night
Call him the retro Sinatra, the keeper of the big band flame, the swingin' piano man, but Harry Connick Jr., remains one of New Orleans' treasures. His second Christmas CD is as much a salute to his hometown musical roots as it is to the season. Filled with second-line arrangements and fierce horn charts that could blow all that holiday chill back to Canada, Connick's latest revisits upbeat standards such as "Frosty The Snowman," "Blue Christmas," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," and others. Most swing and romp, but the hymns are given the reverential vocal treatment that Connick is known for on his more secular love ballads. Surprises include a quirky arrangement of "Silver Bells," in what sounds all the world like a Henry Mancini score for an action film. And there's four Connick originals that don't quite match the level of the covers, except for what must be the oddest pairing of talents all season, the duet with country singer George Jones on "Nothin' New For the New Year," an inspired tune and performance from two master stylists. There's nothing quite as lasting as the chestnut he penned on his first Christmas CD, "I Pray on Christmas," but for fans, here's a merry Harry N'awlins holiday love fest. --Martin Keller