Harry Connick, Jr.'s 30 was recorded during 1997 around the time of his 30th birthday, though it wasn't released until shortly after his 34th birthday in 2001. Primarily a solo release featuring his piano and vocals, Connick returns to his jazz roots with a vengeance, though he doesn't stick exclusively to jazz repertoire; examples include his down-home vocals accompanying a strutting take of Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'," a campy, Monk-like waltz treatment of "Somewhere My Love (Lara's Theme)" (from the film Dr. Zhivago), and an imaginative reworking of the usually nauseating pop hit "Tie a Yellow Ribbon." Connick salutes Louis Armstrong by singing and playing "The Gypsy" and a romping "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans." He revives two songs that have fallen from favor: a rollicking take of Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In" and the moody ballad "Don't Like Goodbyes," a collaboration between Harold Arlen and Truman Capote. The guest spots are a special treat. Connick's former bassist, Ben Wolfe, joins him for a stripped-down, slower-than-usual take of "If I Were a Bell" and Reverend James Moore (in one of his last recordings prior to his death) adds his organ and vocal on Doc Pomus' gospel-flavored "There Is Always One More Time." The big surprise is that Wynton Marsalis is featured on piano, initially accompanying Connick's vocal on "I Only Miss Her When I Think of Her" before giving up the bench to the singer and finishing this lovely ballad on trumpet. Jazz fans attracted to Connick in his early days will greatly appreciate this very fine effort, but will wonder why it took so long for it to be released.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden