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USAF 'Rhythm in Blue' welcomes Harry Connick Jr., band

Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, answers questions from U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians during a visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. The U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble hosted Connick Jr. and his band as part of a good-will tour to share military music and culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, answers questions from U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians during a visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. The U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble hosted Connick Jr. and his band as part of a good-will tour to share military music and culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Stephen Rozek, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band musician, performs alongside the HOAB “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble during a good-will tour for Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, and his band at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. After the ensemble’s performance, Connick Jr. and his band played, then shared their experiences as touring musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Stephen Rozek, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band musician, performs alongside the HOAB “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble during a good-will tour for Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, and his band at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. After the ensemble’s performance, Connick Jr. and his band played, then shared their experiences as touring musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

The U.S. Air Force Heritage of America “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble hosted Harry Connick Jr. and his band at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. Connick Jr., an “American Idol” judge, listened to the ensemble’s performance, performed with his band and then answered questions from U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force Service member-musicians in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

The U.S. Air Force Heritage of America “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble hosted Harry Connick Jr. and his band at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. Connick Jr., an “American Idol” judge, listened to the ensemble’s performance, performed with his band and then answered questions from U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force Service member-musicians in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle, Air Combat Command commander, greets Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, during a good-will tour at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. During the visit, Connick Jr. listened to a performance by the U.S. Heritage of America Band “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble, performed with his band and then answered questions from U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force Service member-musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle, Air Combat Command commander, greets Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, during a good-will tour at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. During the visit, Connick Jr. listened to a performance by the U.S. Heritage of America Band “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble, performed with his band and then answered questions from U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force Service member-musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle, Air Combat Command commander, coins Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, during a good-will tour at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. After a performance by the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble, Connick Jr. answered questions from U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force Service member-musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle, Air Combat Command commander, coins Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, during a good-will tour at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. After a performance by the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble, Connick Jr. answered questions from U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force Service member-musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Members of the “Harry Connick Jr. Big Band” perform for U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians during a visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. The U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band “Rhythm in Blue” ensemble hosted Connick Jr. and his band as part of a good-will tour of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Members of the “Harry Connick Jr. Big Band” perform for U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians during a visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. The U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band “Rhythm in Blue” ensemble hosted Connick Jr. and his band as part of a good-will tour of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, and his band perform for U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians during a visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. During the visit Connick Jr. listened and gave constructive critiques to the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble members and answered questions from the audience. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, and his band perform for U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians during a visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. During the visit Connick Jr. listened and gave constructive critiques to the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble members and answered questions from the audience. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Jerry Weldon, member of Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band, performs for U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians during a visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. Connick Jr., an “American Idol” judge, and his band visited Langley as part of a good-will tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Jerry Weldon, member of "Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band," performs for U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians during a visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. Connick Jr., an “American Idol” judge, and his band visited Langley as part of a good-will tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, speaks with U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Fatek, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band musician, after a performance at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. During the visit hosted by the HOAB “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble, Connick Jr. and his band played for U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians and shared their experiences as professional musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

Harry Connick Jr., musician, actor and “American Idol” judge, speaks with U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Fatek, U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band musician, after a performance at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Feb. 23, 2015. During the visit hosted by the HOAB “Rhythm in Blue” jazz ensemble, Connick Jr. and his band played for U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy Service member-musicians and shared their experiences as professional musicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Newman/Released)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- The U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band 'Rhythm in Blue' jazz ensemble hosted Harry Connick Jr. and his band at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, Feb. 23, 2015.

Connick Jr., a current judge on the television show American Idol, said he visited with the Airmen musicians to extend his appreciation and show support for the military.

"In particular, [Connick Jr.] wanted to show his appreciation and support for Airmen, U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Navy Sailors who use music to inspire troops, honor the veterans and recruit," said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Justin Lewis, HOAB action officer. "Just like all of our Airmen, bandsmen need to keep themselves sharp technically, and having a jazz expert like [Connick Jr.] come out and give some pointers is a great form of on-the-job training for our Airmen."

Connick Jr., a New Orleans, Louisiana, native, became a successful jazz musician at an early age and later became involved in acting. He is well-known for the soundtrack to the movie "When Harry Met Sally," and acting in several films such as "Memphis Belle" and "Independence Day." Connick Jr., has sold over 28 million albums worldwide and is ranked among the top 60 male artists, according to the U.S. Recording Industry Association of America. In addition, he won three Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards for his work.

"Harry Connick Jr. has been such an incredible inspiration to so many of us for so long," said Capt. Mike Hoerber, HOAB band commander. "To be the level of musician he is and to come speak with us, share his story and inspire us means a lot. Part of our job as military musicians is to honor, inspire and recruit for the Air Force and sometimes we need a bit of inspiration too."

During his visit, Connick Jr., listened and gave constructive critiques to the "Rhythm in Blue" members  on their performance. Later, Connick Jr., answered questions from the audience and then performed with his band.

Following his meeting with the HOAB members, Connick Jr. and his band received a tour of an F-22 Raptor from the 1st Fighter Wing.

"This has been one of the greatest experiences in my life. I have the chance to meet some incredible service men and women and see an incredible piece of machinery in the F-22," said Connick Jr. "I got to spend a lot of time with some great musicians and it has been a jammed-pack day of inspiration. What this did was remind me of how lucky I am to be an American and to feel safe at night because of the dedicated service that all of these men and women provide."

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