5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Big band, big chorus, big sound.,
This review is from: When My Heart Finds Christmas (Audio CD)
A different sort of Christmas album, Harry Connick's CD features the big band sound, strong drums throughout, large choruses in many songs--and Harry Connick. With toe-tapping rhythms and a casual, relaxed attitude prevailing, Connick presents many swingy versions of traditional songs and a number of quiet, soft ballads, accompanied by strings and chorales. Subtlety is not part of the pattern here--the music is, for the most part, bold, celebratory, and full of spirit--with the drums setting the beat and emphasizing the rhythms. The romance of the ballads is emphasized by violins and female choruses.
Throughout the album, Connick sets the pattern of the songs in the first stanza, retaining that pattern throughout, restraining himself from offering improvisations or variations, which would be difficult, if not impossible, with his large orchestra and choral ensembles.
"When My Heart Finds Christmas" begins as a romantic song introduced by strings, and builds to a crescendo at the end, to the accompaniment of insistent drums. In "It Must Have Been Old Santa," upbeat, loud, and full of swing, Connick showcases the piano, with the drums sometimes competing with it. "The Little Drummer Boy" carries a big drum, and the treatment is louder and more assertive than usual.
"Ave Maria" begins as a solo piano, a pleasant change from the elaborate treatments of previous songs, with Connick singing at the midpoint, but Latin is not his "native language," and the passion one associates with this traditional music is missing in this track. "I Pray on Christmas," however, is a hand-clapping gospel song, a rousing performance, stirring for the listener. "What Are You Doing New Year's" offers wonderful sax variations, the only song on the CD in which jazz variations take place.
If you are a fan of big band music and large choruses, Connick's album is highly appealing--fun, relaxed, and filled with the power of strong drumbeats. Connick is one of the players here, less a soloist and more of a director.