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Harry Connick Jr.

Smokey Mary

Format: CD   Release Date: 02/05/2013
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Named after the famed Mardi Gras train-engine parade float, singer/pianist Harry Connick, Jr.'s funk-oriented 2013 studio album Smokey Mary coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Krewe of Orpheus, the Mardi Gras super krewe that Connick co-founded in 1993. Perhaps Mardi Gras puts Connick in a funky mood, because the year after founding Krewe of Orpheus, Connick delivered the funk, pop, and soul album She. Ever since She, Connick has, now and again, dabbled in funk. He's best at playing funk when he combines it with the more roiling, bluesy aspects of New Orleans jazz and a danceable groove, as on the organ-heavy opener "Smokey Mary Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train," and the second-line, gospel-inflected number "S'posed to Be" featuring vocalist Tara Alexander. Elsewhere on Smokey Mary, Connick delves into a handful of original contemporary RB-sounding numbers including "Wish I Were Him," "Dang You Pretty," and "Angola (At the Farm)." Helping bring out the album's high-energy party vibe is Connick's stellar backing ensemble, including such stand-out musicians as Preservation Hall trumpeter Mark Braud, trombonist Lucien Barbarin, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and percussionist Bill Summers, among others. Ultimately, Smokey Mary will probably play like the passing parade float it is named after, a lot of colorful, shiny fun. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi

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