Pianist Harry Connick Jr. teams with longtime friend/saxophonist Branford Marsalis on his next album, "Occasion (Connick on Piano, Vol. 2)."

Pianist Harry Connick Jr. teams with longtime friend/saxophonist Branford Marsalis on his next album, "Occasion (Connick on Piano, Vol. 2)." Due June 14 via Marsalis Music, the set was recorded in a single weekend in March in Durham, N.C., and sports 11 Connick originals and two cuts penned by Marsalis.

"Occasion" is the follow-up to Connick's 2003 quartet recording "Other Hours (Connick on Piano, Vol. 1)," which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart.

The artists have scheduled live performances for June 24 in Ottawa, Ont., and June 25 on the closing evening of New York's JVC Jazz Festival, during which they will unveil music from "Occasion."

In other Connick news, he is in production on a 3D animated special titled "The Happy Elf" after a song from his 20003 seasonal collection "Harry for the Holidays." Connick has penned three new songs and written the score for the special, which will feature the voice talents of Mickey Rooney, Lewis Black and Carol Kane, among others.

"The Happy Elf" will be released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment in time for the 2005 holiday season.

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