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What do you think of Harry Connick, Jr.'s playing?


Ernie Rideout

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Tell me, Forum Philosophers, what do you think of Harry Connick. Jr.'s music and playing? He's got a whopping number of new releases out all of a sudden, with lots of real playing going down. Would you like to see an interview with him in Keyboard soon?

Ernie Rideout, Private Citizen

Gee, that was quick.

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Love or hate the guy, no one can deny that he can play. I saw him once in a quartet setting. At one point he started ripping out some serious blues licks so fast most guys couldn't play them. The things is, he was playing them in right hand octaves. It was just stupid. I think he'd be a good interview not only because of his playing, but I also understand that on his big band gigs, the charts are all displayed on monitors hooked up to a CPU/notation program, which allows him to make edits/changes very easily on the road, keeping stuff fresh, and generally improving the overall arrangements as the tour goes on. That's a pretty good use of the technology if you ask me.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Thanks, Kevank! When I transcribed the stuff he played for me during our last interview, which was in March 1997, I was amazed. His chops are insane, and his musicianship is first rate. He played all that James Booker stuff flawlessly.

Ernie Rideout, Private Citizen

Gee, that was quick.

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He is a flashy New Orleans style player with an over the top flamboyent approach. He tends to bang away at tunes. I don't like his jazz playing because it is jerky and rough, he is like a bull in a china shop.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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Emotionally, I could never find a strong connection with his style - but since I own a pair of ears, I find it impossible not to recognize that the guy is a *very* good pianist. I envy his facility on some two-handed polyrhythms, for example. He has the kind of control that only one who has played professionally since a very young age can develop.
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I agree he is a talented pianist. I was very surprised the first time I heard him play. I'd heard him sing and thought to myself he's a decent singer. When I heard him play the piano though, I was shocked he was that good. I agree with kevank who said something to the effect of love or hate him, he can definately play.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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What I notice is he makes it seem so easy. I like has big band swing work the best. It would be fun to front a band like that. It would be fun to have his voice, chops and looks.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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I have only one CD of his playing and it's been a while since I listened to it.

 

He's certainly a very talented player but for my taste he comes across as heavy handed and a bit idiosyncratic. His time is first rate and he is very sure about himself, there's nothing tentative at all about his playing. Having said that, I would never make any negative comments to his face as he's been known carry firearms. :cool:

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I think Harry has got unbelievable chops, can swing like mad and really has a wonderful approach to the piano. No, he doesn't have the kind of reservoir of subtle musical depth, either as a vocalist or a pianist, of the most masterful, compelling artists, but it hardly seems fair to take him to task for not being Sinatra or Bud Powell. I always thought that because he had so much success so young which seemed to come so easily, and because he's a good-looking guy who likes to stare into the camera and bat his eyelashes, that a lot of musicians wanted to dismiss him out-of-hand, and that's quite clearly not fair either. Not everything he does is jazz, but it's almost all interesting. I think he's a real talent. The charts he writes for his big band are deceptively complex and his music is soulful. I saw a brief TV interview showing that video/computer monitor system for his big-band's charts and, like Kevank, I'd like to learn more about it. I haven't heard his new record with Branford, but I'm guessing it's really happening.

 

All that said, however, doesn't Harry Connick get, well, TONS of publicity? I don't know what goes into your editorial decisions, Ernie; there's probably a lot to be said in terms of sales for featuring Connick (or Diana Krall or Peter Cincotti) instead of Bill Charlap or Brad Mehldau. On the other hand, you put Jason Moran on the cover once, so I really can't complain. Forget this second paragraph; I'd love to see an interview with Harry. Ask him about his firearms.

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Ok, call me simple, I too am a Harry fan. Something there doesn't sound right.

 

That said, I have worked at transcribing his stuff as well as professor Longhair's material. It seems Harry takes the "Marino Quote, poly rhythms" which I call plainly syncopation to the next level (from the Prof)... Sometimes a bit off the chart maybe but I can follow his thinking if not his playing.

 

The fact that he is versatile, playing New Orlean's rag or stride as well as striaght jazz and blues, plus writes his own charts for his big band, should be enough for those who dislike him to at least respect his talent.

 

Having seen him live with his big band and followed his career for many years, I am certain he is as nice a guy as you will find in the music business, as well as one of the most talented. He is an entertainer and that is something many musicians forget about. It's 52% visual folks, so let the show begin.

 

No he may not play as well as some or have the best voice but the overall package is pretty sweet.

 

off my soapbox now

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT

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I can see it now in the gadget bag section - What's the best small arms to take to a recording session? You'd probably want something small enough to fit in your jacket but powerful enough to silence those who are causing problems. A dual purpose holster, one that would hold both your mobile phone and your small arms du jour, would be most welcome.

 

The interview with Harry Connick, Jr. could be entitled, Please, don't even think about shooting this piano player.

 

The advertising execs are now frantically calling Smith and Wesson for full page ads. (Smith and Wesson are American made, that's gotta count for something.) I see more ad revenue pouring in and the benefit will be even more interviews with even more keyboard players. This is a win win situation for Keyboard. Now, what brand shoes would go with a Smith and Wesson 38 Special?

 

Sorry, slow day. :cool:

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:

:eek: Wow. You guys can be brutal.

Oh yea, like you're offended. :wave:

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I think he's terrifically talented. A much more gifted pianist than singer, IMHO. His left hand is sick. He does have a tendency to bang on the piano but that is more New Orleans than anything else. There is little subtlety in his playing, but if you want that go grab a Bill Evans record.

 

He takes things a step further (before you even mention the singing) with his writing, arranging and bandleading chops. He's also on the edge of technology with that flat screen music thing he basically invented for himself after an outdoor gig went awry. I'm just glad he's sticking to his strength - music - and not trying to be an actor although he isn't half bad in the right role.

Weasels ripped my flesh. Rzzzzzzz.
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The other thing is that like him or hate him his success back in the late 80s/early 90s got a lot of people my age (early 30s) to develop an appreciation for jazz/big band music. For lots of people Harry Connick, Jr. was the introduction to a ton of other artists and a whole genre that 'we' might have not otherwise gotten into.

 

I remember him demonstrating different piano techniques (rock, pop, jazz, ragtime - even so far as differing jazz pano styles, Herbie Hancock versus Fats Waller) on a VH1 special one time that I always think of when I sit down to play. Literally every time. And I think Harry was about 23 years old at the time.

Weasels ripped my flesh. Rzzzzzzz.
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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:

:eek: Wow. You guys can be brutal.

Oh yea, like you're offended. :wave:
Good morning Dave. :)
"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I've always thought it cool that someone would put all his eggs in the Big Band basket in this era of hip-pop-metal-rock.

 

The airwaves could use a few more crooners like the Cronnick, imho. I have his "break out" album with Branford Marsalis on it - some cheese but the arrangements are tasteful with first rate playing.

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OMG, I love this thread. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Firearms with the Studio Silencer Option. Smith & Wesson Special Advertising Sections. LOL!!!

 

Thanks for all the great input, folks! It's clear that each of you is a very discerning listener, a real musician. You guys make it fun for us Keyboard chain gang members to go to work every day.

Ernie Rideout, Private Citizen

Gee, that was quick.

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Ummmmmm, a lot of us carry firearms, Ernie. Don't you?

 

Here's a picture of Phil Spector. Kinda the specter of things to come. :rolleyes:

 

http://www.crimelibrary.com/graphics/photos/notorious_murders/celebrity/phil_spector/3-3-Phil-Spector-with-gun.jpg

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I'm packin' right now, as a matter of fact.

 

I've always thought that a pair of Tony Lama boots, with sterling tips and spurs, went best with a S&W six-shot revolver. Brown brogans with a .44, and either Nike basketball shoes or something black, shiny, expensive, and Italian with a 9MM, depending on what crowd you run with. That's a lot of new clients to chase. I'd better start calling and offering glowing reviews in exchange for full-page ads right now!!!

 

:D:D:D

Technical Editor

Keyboard Magazine

 

More people pay for Keyboard than any other music-tech magazine. Period.

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I strongly support another article in Keyboard on Harry Connick.

 

Since Hurricane Katrina I've been thinking a lot about the New Orleans piano style; Booker, Longhair, Dr. John, etc. This is the style where I think Harry really shines and his true talent lies. As a kid he learned from Booker (and others), and he has been able to play that style amazingly well. I first realized Harry's ability several years ago after seeing him play solo piano Jingle Bells in the Booker style. I was blown away by that.

 

Maybe he could do a bit of a lesson on New orleans piano?

I've always hoped that one day I could get a few minutes of a lesson from Harry, so he could show me how to get those Booker-style "ruffs", or mini glissando riffs, I'm not sure what to call them, and some of the cool things you hear in the New orleans style. Harry is a master at that stuff and I've never quite been able to get the same sound.

 

Also, there's that left hand stride technique that sounds like 3 hands...

 

That article you guys did a few years back (1997?) was one of my favorite Keyboard Mag articles. Connick talked a lot about Booker and the New Orleans piano style, and there were several great transcribed examples. If you do this again, it would be great to have some mp3 recordings available of his playing along with transcriptions. They were not posted as mp3's last time or midi's at Harry's request if I remember, but perhaps if he himself was recorded live, he'd go along with it.

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