sun 17/11/2019

CD: Harry Connick Jr - True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Harry Connick Jr - True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter

CD: Harry Connick Jr - True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter

The New Orleans native delivers a striking songbook

Piano chops and dramatic charts: Harry Connick Jr.

From brooding masterpieces (”Love for Sale”) to classic list songs ("Let's Do It"), Cole Porter was one of the greatest songsmiths of the 20th century. As one of his peers, Richard Rodgers, eloquently put it: "Few people realise how architecturally excellent his music is. There's a foundation, a structure and an embellishment. Then you add the emotion he's put in and the result is Cole Porter."

For his debut album on his new label, the legendary Verve Records, musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. takes a deep dive into 13 of the 1,000-plus songs that Porter composed during a career that spanned more than three decades. Featuring his long-time touring group plus horns and a full string section, Connick not only fronts the band as pianist and singer but also pens all of the charts.

The album blazes into life with a coruscating “Anything Goes”, while chattering clarinets and muted trumpets light up “I Love Paris”. Both for its harmonic sophistication and its intriguing versification, “I Concentrate On You” highlights how Porter’s music continues to attract the attention of contemporary artists – having been recorded by Dianne Reeves, Patricia Barber, Stacey Kent and others – and the version heard here lingers long in the memory.

Following a sirenic and extremely slow “All Of You”, Connick Jr. gets to flex his impressive piano chops on “Just One Of Those Things”, before going for the emotional jugular with a stunning orchestration of “In The Still Of The Night”.

If the prelude to “Begin the Beguine” possesses an almost player piano-like quality, Porter’s sybaritic qualities come strongly to the fore in a gorgeous take on “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To”, a song which has been widely explored by instrumentalists and vocalists alike. A beautifully paced “You Do Something To Me”, Porter’s first Broadway hit, brings this fine album to a moving close.

@MrPeterQuinn

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