We gave it a B-
Harry Connick Jr. is 22 years old and in a hurry. He started as a jazz pianist, but then he recorded songs for the film When Harry Met Sally and won a Grammy this year as a jazz singer. He’ll even debut as an actor in a movie called Memphis Belle in the fall.
Somewhere in the midst of all this he found time to record two new albums at once; a single record, or so he’s said, just wouldn’t be enough to document everything he does. So one of his albums, Lofty’s Roach Souffle, features his piano. The other, We Are in Love, features his singing, and — Grammy or no Grammy — Frank Sinatra he isn’t. Connick’s voice is an airy wisp, all charm and no substance, except maybe in its lowest range, where it unfolds in a throaty purr.
But don’t get me wrong. Connick could charm the shell off an egg. He projects his songs with just the right blend of careless abandon and, in the sad ones, carefully posed regret. And they really are his songs: He wrote all but three of them, in such a spooky imitation of old pop standards that the album sounds like the soundtrack for a parade of ghosts.
So he scores points as a composer and lyricist, too — until, on the next-to-last cut, he takes a shot at Cole Porter’s ”It’s Alright With Me” and blows his own songwriting right out of the water. In doing that, he also blows his own vocals away. The song evokes memories of people like Ella Fitzgerald, who can be just as charming but who sing the same music with less hustle and much more heart.