Harry Connick Jr. has performed with the cream of R&B and jazz musicians in his…
- Posted on Mar 7th 2011 4:30PM by James Sullivan
AFP / Getty Images
Was it important to you to make the Krewe of Orpheus, your parade club, an all-inclusive Mardi Gras krewe?
You know how it is, man. It was mostly white. There was one black parade, and one women's parade. I don't have a problem with these club parades -- whether they're all Jewish or all Catholic or whatever. That don't make no difference to me. What bugs me is when there's no opportunity for anything else. That's why I started Orpheus. I thought in a town as multicultural as New Orleans there should be some representation of that in something as socially significant as Mardi Gras.
You're so busy all the time -- you put this record and DVD out, and people are talking about how Harry's going to be on Broadway again. Does it feel like the record releases get lost in the shuffle sometimes?
Well, yes and no. It's kind of a coincidence that it all happens at once. I have a great record company. Whatever they ask, I'm always game. If they decide to release it now, I'll do it. That's not really my department. As far as the record getting overshadowed, I think it all kinda plays into itself. It's all essentially me, so I don't know how detrimental to the numbers it will be, whether it will help or hurt.
It's the Harry Connick brand, basically.
I guess so, man. Fortunately there's people who talk about that stuff, and I don't have to be one of them.
There's a beautiful 11-minute version of 'Besame Mucho' right near the beginning of the show.
You gotta make decisions. The center of what I do is playing piano. If that means we cut off a couple vocal tunes, that's fine with me. This CD is about what I do in the live show. Screw it, man, you just do what you gotta do!
Does your record label, Columbia, ever ask you to slow down? Or do they push you to keep it coming?
I usually wait for their cue. If I had my way, I'd just record music all the time. I get the idea of oversaturating the market. I just record when they say, "Hey, it's time for another record." My creative energy's always on.
I'm reading Sammy Davis Jr.'s autobiography, and I'm curious whether you've actually studied the Rat Pack guys.
I never really was into that. To me, he's the greatest entertainer who ever lived, all-around. As far as who can put on the best show, absolutely, he was by far number one. I met Sammy when I was a kid, so the mystique of it all.... I don't know, man. I hung out with a lot of those folks when I was a kid. Maybe that's why I don't really read a lot of that stuff.
How are things going with Musicians' Village in New Orleans?
They're going great. It's all occupied, and we opened the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in August. There's 80 houses. We're gonna try to get more built -- it's just a matter of when and where -- but that particular project is done. Anybody could apply, but we wanted to make sure musicians knew about it quickly so they knew they'd have place to go, and it worked out that way.
There was some talk about you being a candidate as an 'American Idol' judge. You have so much going on all time, when it didn't work out, you just brushed it off.
Yeah, and I think they made the right choice. For what that show is, a competition for pop singers, you've got two pop singers. And I think they're doing a phenomenal job.