Monday, July 28, 2008

CD Review: We Are In Love

1) We Are In Love
2) Only 'Cause I Don't Have You
3) Recipe For Love
4) Drifting
5) Forever, For Now
6) A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
7) Heavenly
8) Just A Boy
9) I've Got A Great Idea
10) I'll Dream Of You Again
11) It's Alright With Me
12) Buried In Blue
Harry Connick, Jr. knows how to keep a great style alive. His 1990 album We Are In Love pays tribute to the standards with new songs written with the same spirit, but do not simply imitate the classics. That doesn't stop his covers of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" and "It's Alright With Me" from fitting right in.
Those two are among the tracks where Connick's vocals and piano are supplemented only by a rhythm section. "It's Alright With Me" features a lengthy solo section in the true jazz spirit. Connick, bassist Benjamin Jonah Wolfe, drummer Shannon Powell, and guitarist Russell Malone all shine.
The title track opens the disc with a bang. Connick sings over an orchestral arrangement rivaling the best of Gordon Jenkins and Nelson Riddle. The flawless switch from swing to Latin in the middle of that song was an unexpected touch.
"Recipe for Love" is a classic limerick with another swinging arrangement Sinatra literally would have killed for - he had connections. He also would have loved to record "Drifting", a beautiful ballad crooned over a gorgeous string backing. Connick does big band every bit as well as Sinatra, Duke, and Basie.
We Are In Love honors love songs better than Rod Stewart's latest cover album ever could.  It proves that great music is timeless.  Kudos to Connick for being the best crooner of our generation.
***** out of five

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