Kickin' out yuletide jams: Holiday CDs range from the wonderful to the bizarre

Publication: The Detroit News
Authors: Susan Whitall & Adam Graham
Date: November 29, 2011

“The Happy Elf,” Harry Connick Jr. Trio (Marsalis Music)

This companion disc to Connick’s picture book of the same name published by Harper Collins (not to mention, the “Happy Elf” musical) is a winsome album of piano trio jazz with the add-on of a spoken-word track. On it, Connick (the father of three) tells the story of the “happy elf” who figures out how to help Bluesville, a town full of children who are all too naughty for presents from Santa. Accompanied by bassist Neal Caine and drummer Arthur Latin, Connick doesn’t sing, but plays in the Nat King Cole trio style, with an extra emphasis on bluesy improvisation on the 11 songs he wrote. His piano work is particularly evocative on the melancholy “Christmas Day.” GRADE: A-

Submitted by Bobby on November 29th, 2011 — 12:57pm