Harry Connick Jnr

"That Would Be Me"

(Sony); Blues/jazz

By ​Phil ​Bennett

He’s good looking, sings tastefully, plays piano with impeccable chops, impresses as an actor, has a beautiful family and seems to be an all round nice guy (as long as you excuse the arrest for trying to take a gun through airport control a few years back).

At the age of 48, he’s just released his 32nd album, give or take, and it’s an absolute corker.

Embracing a range of styles, from the almost manic semi rapping opener, Smile, to the whimsical Tryin’ To Matter and the soulful Everytime I Fall In Love, with a clutch of ballads in between, this is the sound of a man who’s quite relaxed about where he sits in the scheme of things.

There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but everything is handled with such unpretentious style and joie de vivre, that you can’t help but be drawn into its charms.

What is really nice is his swing away from the straight line, having a stab at a few things he wouldn’t normally do. Case in point - Where Prisoners Drown - a journey down to a dark place, all slinky bass, atmospheric strings and breathy, close harmonies evoking an air of mystery and drama.

And the album closes with a bang as New Orleans brass band, thumping drums and handclaps crash together beneath Connick’s silky smooth vocals on the wonderful Right Where It Hurts.

Anyone with a soft spot for immaculate but warm jazz-inflected numbers delivered with exquisite eloquence, but with an imaginative stretch here and there, then this one’s definitely worth checking out.

What’s not to like?

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.