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Harry Connick, Jr.: Only You banner
Mike Karn on tenor saxophone and Neal Caine on bass
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The ever-busy Harry Connick, Jr. has been in the spotlight over the past few years for his recurring role as Dr. Leo Markus on the popular NBC sitcom WILL & GRACE and for his work on Broadway as composer and orchestrator of the score for the show "Thou Shalt Not," for which he received a Tony nomination. Since bursting onto the music scene 15 years ago with the highly successful soundtrack to the movie WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, the New Orleans native, whose roots are in jazz, has explored divergent styles of music as a vocalist, pianist, composer, and arranger, while carving out an independent career as an actor.

Born in 1967, Harry Connick, Jr. started playing piano at age three and began performing with professional musicians in the clubs of New Orleans' French Quarter by age six. He was tutored by the late gifted pianist James Booker, and studied with renowned jazz instructor Ellis Marsalis at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts before heading to New York City, when he was 18, to attend the Manhattan School of Music. His time at the school was short, however. He dropped out after taking a few classes and started performing at various venues in the city. Discovered by Columbia Records talent scouts, Connick was signed to a record deal in 1986. His self-titled jazz instrumental debut album was released the next year, and in 1988 was followed by 20, an album, named for his age at the time, of solo piano and vocals. The 1989 WHEN HARRY MET SALLY soundtrack, the first time Connick recorded with a big band and orchestra, became a crossover hit with his renditions of such American standards as "It Had to Be You" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," and led to his first televised concert in 1990, which aired on GREAT PERFORMANCES.

"We recorded a TV special in Dallas at the Majestic Theatre and it was incredibly exciting. I still can feel the feelings I had then because it was all new to me. I mean, I had done a little bit of television, you know, and I felt very, very excited and intimidated by the process."

Top banner photos: Jerry Weldon on tenor saxophone; Harry Connick, Jr. (photo by Nicole Rivelli); trumpeter Leroy Jones and trombonist Craig Klein with Connick.

Trumpeter Mark Braud

In the concert special, Connick is backed by his Big Band as well as a 16-piece string ensemble.

Harry Connick, Jr.

Harry Connick, Jr. made his first jazz album when he was 10 years old.

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Celebrating 30 Years of Great Performances