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In The Wee Small Hours Vol 2???
on 22 March 2004
For someone who, for the past fifteen years, has been railing against the popular mantle of "young Sinatra", and doing all he can to disclaim and destroy that moniker, Harry Connick Jr has here made one hell of a Sinatra album. With one blindingly notable difference.
While the current fashion is for some young pretenders to copy Sinatra and his contemporaries, with mixed success to say the least, Harry has gone his own way, as he always does, and done his own arrangements and orchestrations, for a small string and rhythm group, rather than the big band.
The result will not be to everyone's taste. His voice, more Sinatra in tone and phrasing than ever, is gorgeous, clear and easy; there's no problem there. The arrangements now have a very stylised, stripped down, much more jazzy feel, but the rhythm section is a bit ponderous, not to say monotonous. It's a great cure for insomnia.
So I'm very torn. On the one hand these are fine original treatments of some great songs, and you only have to compare "For Once In My Life" here with Michael Buble's version to realise how fine they are. And it could easily have been the album Sinatra never made - In The Wee Small Hours Vol 2?? On the other hand it is just a shade too laid-back and leaden footed for comfort. Still, streets ahead of most of the competition.