Harry Connick Jr. Didn't Tackle Lush LifeThursday, November 06, 2008
It was October 23, 1990. CBS Records was being taken over by Sony Music. Dave Chesney, the local CBS record rep, had been instructed to find a photographer to record Harry Connick Jr's concert the next day at the Orpheum (a somewhat smaller show than the GM Place performace slated for Fiday night) for Tokyo journalists working on a story on the new Sony star. Fumiko, the Sony representative, was surprised when Dave and I showed up at the Century Plaza Hotel to meet the Japanese Sony delegation. She was concerned that I wasn't Japanese. "Is there anything I can do for you for the trouble?" she asked.
I didn't get the job, but Chesney was still keen to have a photo of Harry to accompany one I had taken of Leonard Cohen that graced the CBS office he was soon to depart.
At 11 a.m. next morning, we knocked on the door of Harry's room at the Georgian Court Hotel. He was being interviewed by a journalist with the help of a translator. The Japanese photographer who had been flown in from Los Angeles, was taking snaps with his motor-driven Nikon. As soon as I unpacked the lights and set up the medium-format camera on a heavy tripod, the journalist and the photographer made a quick and apologetic exit. We were alone with Harry.
Unshaven, he looked uncomfortable. To break the ice I asked Harry if he would ever record my favourite jazz standard, Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life. "That's a woman's song. I don't think I'll tackle it yet." Now smiling and relaxed, however, he added, "I'm ready."