Columbia Records will release "Oh, My NOLA," the new album of New Orleans-inspired music from Harry Connick, Jr., on Tuesday, January 30. On the same day, Marsalis Music/Rounder Records will release a companion album of instrumentals by Connick's big band, "Chanson du Vieux Carre."

"New Orleans is a city of paradox. Sin, salvation, sex, sanctification, so intertwined yet so separate. The blurred lines from the dark blue of Mardi Gras night to the periwinkle of Ash Wednesday morning," is the way Connick summarizes the gritty and grandiose, soulful and magical Crescent City, where the musical culture is second to none.

"Jazz, gospel, brass band, rhythm and blues, country, funk aren't all the styles played in New Orleans," he emphasizes. "But they're the ones I wanted to play around with." And "play around with" them he does, to brilliant effect, on "Oh, My NOLA."

"Oh, My NOLA" was recorded in June, days after Connick had completed his historic run in "The Pajama Game," which is documented in the original cast recording comprising half of the two-disc set "Connick on Broadway, Volume 1." With the assistance of his great Big Band, plus the added input of a few special guests, Connick has created an unprecedented musical cornucopia of songs inspired by and associated with the Crescent City for his new album.

The companion album, "Chanson du Vieux Carre," was recorded for Marsalis Music/Rounder Records in 2003. The disc features Connick's longstanding big band in a similar mix of New Orleans classics, including compositions by New Orleans legends Louis Armstrong ("Someday You'll Be Sorry"), Sidney Bechet ("Petite Fleur"), Paul Barbarin ("Bourbon Street Parade") and Professor Longhair ("Mardi Gras in New Orleans") as well as three Connick originals. While Connick does not sing on this album, there are vocal spots for trumpeter Leroy Jones and trombonist Lucien Barbarin.