A Harry Connick Jr. 2-fer

Friday, February 02, 2007 | 06:21 PM

Here's a nice chill out for a Friday night (and, it promotes a good charity, too):

I've long been a Harry Connick Jr. fan, ever since the Harry Met Sally soundtrack. Some dismiss him as "Sinatra light," but thats an unfair comparison. Connick has his own distinctive sound, plays a mean piano, and can put his mark on a tune with the best of them. His jazz piano work on Lofty's Roach Souffle is quite good -- the album made several best of lists (#94 of the Billboard 200). Oh, and its just 79 cents at Amazon, while the must have Harry Met Sally commands a premium price of 99 cents.

Connick just released two separate CDs -- an instrumental album, and a vocal arrangement of his favorite New Orleans songs.  Part of the proceeds of each go to the Musicians Village in New Orleans.

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Oh_my_nola_1Oh, My Nola:  You can stream much of this album for free here -- but if you buy the disc, a portion of the royalties of Oh, My NOLA will be donated to Musicians' Village in New Orleans.

The early reviews are good: Its a return to Connick's NOLA roots, an impressive collection full of great jazz hits, covers and original recordings honoring New Orleans, yet remains light-hearted and upbeat.

The "Big Band: that Connick assembled swings, and the album showcases New Orleans jazz in a great way.

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Chanson_du_vieux_carreThe second disc is a bit more intriguing:  Chanson du Vieux Carre.

Named for the storied old section of the French Quarter, if you liked Lofty's Roach Souffle, or any of the Connick's other swinging Jazz instrumentals, you should find this one interesting.

It is a largely instrumental big band session divided between originals and classics; The album feature his longtime trumpeter Leroy Jones, and trombonist Lucien Barbarin.

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All Seven Sly and the Family Stone LPs Reissued

Contrary to the accepted wisdom regarding pot smokers, Sly Stone was productive as hell in his heyday, releasing seven albums in as many years with his band the Family Stone. On March 20, Epic/Legacy will celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the release of the group's 1967 debut, A Whole New Thing, by reissuing it along with the rest of the band's seven pre-solo Sly or Family Stone "comeback" albums.

All seven albums (chronologically: A Whole New Thing, Dance to the Music, Life, Stand!, There's a Riot Goin' On, Fresh, Small Talk) will come as limited edition digipaks with bonus tracks, plenty of which are previously unreleased. According to a press release, they will also feature "restored and expanded packaging, including rare photos, memorabilia, and new liner notes by a diverse group of writers and artists."

The bonus tracks for each release are as follows.

A Whole New Thing: "Underdog" (B-side version, mono), "Let Me Hear It From You" (B-side version, mono), "Only One Way Out of This Mess", "What Would I Do", "You Better Help Yourself" (previously unreleased instrumental).

Dance to the Music: "Dance to the Music" (single version, mono), "Higher" (unissued single version, mono), "Soul Clappin'", "We Love All" (previously unreleased), "I Can't Turn You Loose" (previously unreleased), "Never Do Your Woman Wrong" (previously unreleased instrumental).

Life: "Dynamite!" (single version, mono), "Seven More Days" (previously unreleased), "Pressure" (previously unreleased), "Sorrow" (previously unreleased instrumental).

Stand!: "Stand!" (single version, mono), "I Want to Take You Higher" (single version, mono), "You Can Make It If You Try" (unissued/cancelled single version, mono), "Soul Clappin' II" (previously unreleased), "My Brain (Zig-Zag)" (previously unreleased instrumental).

There's a Riot Goin' On: "Runnin' Away" (single version, mono), "Untitled instrumental track #1" (previously unreleased), "Untitled instrumental track #2" (previously unreleased, mono), "Untitled instrumental track #3" (previously unreleased, mono).

Fresh: "Let Me Have It All" (alternate mix, previously unreleased album master), "Frisky" (alternate mix, previously unreleased album master), "Skin I'm In" (alternate mix, previously unreleased album master), "Keep on Dancin'" (alternate mix, previously unreleased album master), "Babies Makin' Babies" (alternate mix, previously unreleased album master).

Small Talk: "Crossword Puzzle" (previously unreleased), "Time for Livin'" (previously unreleased alternate version), "Loose Booty" (previously unreleased alternate version), "Positive" (previously unreleased instrumental).

Posted by: babygal | Feb 3, 2007 2:39:20 PM

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