Harry Connick Jr.,
When Harry Met Sally
(Sony, 1989)

This is a movie soundtrack in only the loosest of definitions. While these songs were featured in the hit film When Harry Met Sally, Harry Connick Jr. sang only one or two of them. (Movie versions of the songs were performed by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.)

But Connick's reinterpretation of these romantic jazz standards for the album are fresh, fun and thrilling. Connick, a New Orleans-style singer, injects the songs with youthful vitality with his lightly accented vocals and inventive arrangements; some are sparse, relying on piano, bass and percussion, while others employ a full brass ensemble for big-band flair.

The album includes "Love is Here to Stay," "But Not for Me," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "I Could Write a Book," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "Where or When." (The opening number, "It Had to Be You," earned the spotlight dance slot at my wedding.)

There are also several instrumental tracks to break up the format: "Stompin' at the Savoy," "Autumn in New York," "Winter Wonderland" and a second version of "It Had to Be You."

It's not the movie, but you can always hear those versions of the songs by firing up the old DVD player. For pure listening pleasure, I'm quite content with Connick's remake of these fine old classics.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 21 August 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.