With very few exceptions, the career of Harry Connick, Jr., can be divided in half -- his first two albums encompassed straight-ahead New Orleans jazz and stride piano while his later career (which paralleled his rising celebrity status) alternated between more contemporary New Orleans music and pop vocals with a debt to Frank Sinatra. Born in New Orleans on September 11, 1967, Connick grew up the son of two lawyers who owned a record store. After beginning on keyboards at the age of three, he first performed publicly at six and recorded with a local jazz band at ten. Connick attended the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and studied with Ellis Marsalis and James Booker. A move to New York to study at Hunter College and the Manhattan School of Music gave him the opportunity to look up a Columbia Records executive who had asked to see him, and Connick's self-titled album debut -- a set of mostly unaccompanied standards -- appeared in 1987. Jazz critics praised Connick's maturity and engaging style as well as his extended stays at New York hot spots during the year. His second album, named for his age in 1988, was the first to feature him on vocals.