With very few exceptions, the career of Harry Connick, Jr.
With very few exceptions, the career of Harry Connick, Jr. Born in New Orleans on September 11, , Connick grew up the son of two lawyers who owned a record store. After beginning on keyboards at the age of three, he first performed publicly at six and recorded with a local jazz band at ten. A move to New York to study at Hunter College and the Manhattan School of Music gave him the opportunity to look up a Columbia Records executive who had asked to see him, and Connick's self-titled album debut -- a set of mostly unaccompanied standards -- appeared in Jazz critics praised Connick's maturity and engaging style as well as his extended stays at New York hot spots during the year.
His second album, named for his age in , was the first to feature him on vocals. Already well known within jazz circles, Connick entered the American consciousness with the soundtrack to 's popular film When Harry Met Sally. A world tour followed, and When Harry Met Sally eventually reached double-platinum status.
With Connick a major celebrity, he diverged into an acting career, playing a tail gunner in 's Memphis Belle. That same year, he released two albums simultaneously: Of course, the vocal album performed much better in the pop charts, hitting double platinum, while the instrumentals worked better with jazz audiences.
Connick toured again, this time with a big band, and recorded the group on 's Blue Light, Red Light. Though his celebrity decreased slightly during the mid-'90s, Connick's albums continued to reach platinum status, including 's 25, a Christmas album, and 's She. Connick continued his acting work with a starring role in 's Copycat where he played a serial killer , and he married actress Jill Goodacre. In , he had a brief role in the year's biggest blockbuster, Independence Day, but his album Star Turtle failed to connect with pop audiences.
Come by Me, a return to big-band sounds, followed in In the new millennium, Connick cycled between albums exploring his jazz roots and those with songbook standards. Interestingly, post Connick moved between two labels with albums getting released on both Columbia Records and saxophonist Branford Marsalis' Marsalis Music label. Among these were the big-band album Only You, featuring popular music from the '50s and '60s, and the more intimate releases Other Hours: Connick on Piano, Vol.
Ever devoted to his hometown, Connick was also heavily involved in the support and rebuilding of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina. Afterward, he worked closely with Habitat for Humanity in helping victims of Katrina. In , Connick once again expressed his deep love for his hometown with the release of his New Orleans tribute album, Oh, My Nola, on Columbia Records.
A year later, Connick returned with his third holiday album, What a Night! He once again revisited a set of American popular song classics and contemporary pop standards with 's Your Songs. In , Connick returned with the funk-oriented album Smokey Mary. The album coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Krewe of Orpheus, the Mardi Gras super krewe that Connick co-founded in In , Connick signed onto be a judge on the 13th season of American Idol.
He stayed with the show through its final season -- the one that ran from -- but he made plans to stay on television via a daytime variety show scheduled to appear in the autumn of While all these plans were being laid, Connick released the poppy album That Would Be Me in the fall of
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