Hype and Hip

Please allow me to take issue with James Liska who calls Harry Connick Jr. "unremarkable" ("Pianist Connick Turns Out to Be More Hype Than Hip," Calendar April 13).

Connick has given both jazz and classical concerts here and abroad. Following the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis, he has played with the majority of famous New Orleans jazz musicians, who considered Connick a child prodigy at the age of six. Hardly "unremarkable." I heard him play jazz for the first time before (he was) 10, in the most famous jazz joints in the French Quarter where he played without music and kept up the beat with best of them. While still a teen-ager, he won prestigious scholarships.

Mr. Liska seems unfamiliar with a true southern drawl a la New Orleans, or else he would not have considered Connick's patter an "exaggerated drawl." Frankly, to describe a person's particular speech inflection as "funny" is trite criticism. A person's accent shouldn't be a point of criticism good or bad.

The last paragraph of Mr. Liska's review was outrageous. He was comparing apples to oranges. Michael Feinstein is no jazz pianist and doesn't claim to be one. Liska's review was discussed with several people who have attended all of Connick's West Coast performances, past and present. The unanimous decision was that Liska was way off base, uncouth, snide and unappreciative of true talent.



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