Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Best. Mentor. E-ver.

I honestly can't think of an idol night I've enjoyed more than tonight. Of course, that's mostly due to the fact that Harry Connick, Jr. Was the mentor. There is no way I'll ever be able to heap on the praise and adoration like Stacy will, but I did have a number of thoughts as I watched.

1. I think when we look back on my generation's musical era, HCJr will be considered one of the top 5 all-around entertainers of our time. He is an incredible pianist, singer, composer, arranger, etc., etc., etc.

2. To take time to work with the contestants, arrange their songs, and perform on Tuesday night is a testament to not only HCJr, but the jazz world as well. This is how it is--mentorship is just a way of life. Through the years I had the good fortune to meet a lot of jazz celebrities in the San Francisco Bay Area and they were all just like Harry--ready to spend time and inspire a young musician.

3. Interestingly HCJr was compared to Frank Sinatra early in his career, but he's always been a bit more unique than that. He definitely embodies the New Orleans style of jazz and has always incorporated that into his arrangements.

4. Give me one measure of any HCJr arrangement and I can immediately identify it as his. He has an incredible way of orchestrating the band. I've always loved it.

5. If I really had to choose, HCJr's job is the only one in the world I could ever come close to coveting. Plus, I love how he does all of his arranging on the computer, and all of his musicians read their music on the computer as well. Technology at its finest.

I could go on and on, but there were a few performances to think about as well. It was painfully obvious who was comfortable with Sinatra songs and who was not. And I could have predicted who those people would be before hand. And a big challenge for the contestants was to not be overshadowed by the band. I won't bother to comment on the arrangements individually--they were all great.

Aaron Kelly: Look. Aaron can sing. He did fairly well, but he was just average tonight. I, unlike Kara, did hear a bit of country in his voice, but that's who he is after all. I do agree that last week was much better for him, but c'mon, Shania or Harry? Which one suits Aaron better?

Casey James: What a letdown this week. I'm not surprised at all that this week was a performance worthy of channel surfing, but it was worse than I had hoped for him. His voice isn't suited to jazz stylings, and he didn't end up getting bluesy enough for this song. I'm a bit worried for him.

Crystal Bowersox: I hear what Simon was saying about Crystal's performances lately seeming a bit indulgent. It's a fine line between pandering to the audience and just singing songs you can do well. The contestants have to find a way to wow viewers and stay true. That being said, I really liked Crystal's performance and am continually amazed at how well she sings. It's so easy to forget she has that talent sometimes.

Michael Lynche: This guy was born to be on stage. He is so comfortable there so it makes it easy to come out each week ready to put on a great show. This week was no exception. I loved his interpretation and the song fit his voice very well. I hope people keep voting for Michael because he truly deserves to go on.

Lee Dewyze: I don't know what HCJr did with him, but Lee was so confident tonight it was ridiculous. The arrangement was perfect (couldn't resist making this observation again) and that may have been part of it. Maybe the fact that Lee is Harry's long-lost brother helped a bit, too. Whatever it was, Lee was awesome. Before the judges said anything, Stacy looked over at me and said, "I think Lee's going to win." That was more than just wishful thinking. It was a decent prediction.

Top to Bottom:

Flying Somewhere Less Exciting than the Moon: Casey

(Do we have to see Lady Gaga again? I don't know if I can take it. I'd rather see this guy.)

HCJr Albums, Top to Bottom (in case you care)

* We Are In Love (his original songs are incredible on this one--first HCJr concert for me was this one)
* When Harry Met Sally
* Come by Me (another great album to hear live)
* Songs I Heard (great songs from kids' movies of yesteryear)
* Blue Light, Red Light (all original songs--fantastic)
* Harry for the Holidays (from the first note you'll be ready for Christmas)
* When My Heart Finds Christmas
* She (really funky, really cool)
* Star Turtle (if not for four really odd tracks with a talking turtle from outer space I'd rank it higher)
* What a Night! A Christmas Album
* To See You (awesome love songs album)
* Oh, My NOLA (what a great post-Katrina tribute to the New Orleans style)
* Your Songs
* 30
* 20
* Only You
* 25 (I can still hear my freshman roommate singing about being an "ol' cowhand")
* Lofty's Roach Souffle (you'll appreciate his piano playing ability after this one)
* Occasion : Connick on Piano, Volume 2
* Other Hours : Connick on Piano, Volume 1
* Chanson du Vieux Carre : Connick On Piano, Volume 3
(His instrumental albums are great, but not quite as interesting if you really like his singing best)
* Harry Connick Jr.
* Thou Shalt Not

Believe it or not we don't own "Harry on Broadway, Act I" so I can't really comment on it

I still can't take his recordings as a kid seriously. Seriously impressive to hear him at 11, but I consider this more of a "pseudo-album" than anything.


Boquinha said...

Seriously. Harry rules. My post has been written for a while now, but I'm waiting on the scanned pictures. That being said, you've got some predictions in here that are spot on (me heaping praise on Harry) and you and I both use the SAME PHRASING about Aaron sounding country -- "I, unlike . . . " (only it was Ellen who said it, not Kara). :P

I love you. Even more than Harry. ;)

Dr. Mark said...

Even more than Harry? I feel special.

If I took notes I probably would have remembered it was Ellen. . . .

J Fo said...

I agree. I think all the mentors should be as qualified and involved as he was. I think he's just adorable and funny and talented to boot! Lee is now "in it to win it!"