Even though he’s reached stardom with his soulless, cut-rate version of Ol’ Blue Eyes–one New York observer nailed the point by referring to him as “Frank Synopsis”–Harry Connick started out as a pianist; playing in solo and trio formats, he showed a certain minor promise by unexpectedly merging his appreciation for Thelonious Monk with musical elements of his native New Orleans. His first two albums, as well as his unheralded Chicago debut (a one-night showcase at George’s about three years ago), found him in these formats; and while he was hardly the best 20-year-old pianist in jazz history, it was worth wondering where his style might head as it matured. Unfortunately, it’s probably too much to hope that his piano playing has grown deeper or richer in the succeeding three years, which have been filled with big bands, movie roles, and the process of parlaying phony nostalgia into His Brilliant Career. But this one-night trio date (just instrumental music, no vocals, in a setting slightly more intimate than the Chicago Theatre) might prove interesting nonetheless–if only to see whether the process of playing a jazz singer has diminished Connick’s ability to actually play the piano. Monday, 8 and 10 PM, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4300.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Palma Kolansky.