Harry Connick Jr.'s 2001 appointment book is busier than a saxophone arpeggio crawling up the scale on one of the jazzman's big-band-inspired compositions. Two CD releases here, four movie projects there, a Broadway debut as a composer/arranger/ lyricist thrown in for good measure. But don't ask the 34-year-old Connick to remain content with his musical laurels, past or present. "If your record doesn't sell that well, man, who cares?" he muses. "All the satisfaction I need comes when I step out onstage and see the people. That's awesome."
It's not as if Connick doesn't have enough material for his smoky, Sinatra-esque set of pipes. In the past six weeks, Connick has cranked out a pair of discs, the first of which, Songs I Heard, is a playfully chosen, 16-track collection of Broadway and movie tunes with a haunting rendition of "Over the Rainbow" as the centerpiece. The follow-up, 30, is a carefree blues hopscotch boasting "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "Don't Fence Me In," among others.
Movie and theater scripts continue to flood Connick's mailbox as well. In the spring, he starred as Lieutenant Cable in the television adaptation of South Pacific. By June, he was in Virginia to film John Grisham's Mickey. This month, he'll headline with Lynn Redgrave, Tyne Daly, and Cindy Crawford in the improvisational film The Simian Line, and by early next year, he'll play opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in the dark comedy Life Without Dick. It goes without saying, then, that as Connick pushes the boundaries from Bourbon Street to the Great White Way, he shows no signs of taking the Big Easy. "The success, if anything, brings more challenges. I work with so many talented people and just try to keep up."
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