Freshman year of college, spring semester, my jazz band classmates asked me if I wanted to head down to Knoxville one evening to see the Harry Connick Jr. concert. I’m thinking, the big band jazz guy? I love playing the music, but why would I ever want to go see a show like that?
As is a running theme of my life, wow, was I ever wrong.
Turns out, Harry was there on tour for his new album, She, and it wasn’t big band but was small (relative to big band anyway) ensemble jazz. Don’t let it fool you though, the show was anything but small. I hadn’t heard any of the music on this album so was taken by complete surprise from the first song. Those were two magical hours.
I really didn’t know much about Harry prior to that show, but learned a lot about him that evening. Besides vocals and the piano, I counted 17 other instruments he picked up and played during the evening, all well enough that he could have played any of them in a music degree program in any college he felt like. I was in awe of his abilities. The most memorable one of the evening though had to be when he slapped on the marching snare drum and led the parade through the cheering audience. Even from my seat up in the balcony, that was an electric performance.
To this day, whenever I’m in need of a little pick me up, this is one of my go-to albums as it has some of the most upbeat and happy, yet not simple, music I’ve ever heard.