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Convincing in her storytellin' role, Norah Jones sings popular ballads with an emphasis on the blues. Her delicate voice sparkles gently alongside the band's twangy guitar chorus and straightforward rhythm section. She accompanies on piano. The title song, resembling a spiritual, beckons the listener to waltz away with her to a place where life will be better: better than the tension-filled surroundings we face all too often. Her original, the song belies Jones' fragile persona and warm soul. Country ballads allow her natural innocence to shine through intimately. Employing multi-tracking, she blends consonant vocal harmonies to most of the tunes. Only a few veer away from the country music field. "I've Got to See You Again" stands out for its exciting syncopated rhythm and deeply romantic mood. It's a thrilling Latin affair that makes you want to tango. "Turn Me On" allows Jones to apply a tiny bit of vocal grit to an otherwise satin-smooth session. The album's musicianship is superb. Jones' "Nightingale" winds its way along country roads in a folk song setting. So does "The Long Day Is Over," which expresses the meaning of her lyrics quite well. Finally, she ends the album with a jazz standard. Paring it down to just voice and piano, Jones, 23, demonstrates a veteran's understanding of how to communicate with her audience. In her Blue Note debut, Jones is effective, intimate, and persuasive. She's got the world on a string.
Track Listing: Don't Know Why; Seven Years; Cold Cold Heart; Feelin' The Same Way; Come Away With Me; Shoot the Moon; Turn Me On; Lonestar; I've Got To See You Again; Painter Song; One Flight Down; Nightingale; The Long Day Is Over; The Nearness Of You.
Personnel: Norah Jones- vocals, piano, electric piano; Lee Alexander- bass; Jesse Harris, Adam Levy, Tony Scherr, Adam Rogers, Kevin Breit- guitar; Dan Rieser- drums; Brian Blade- drums, percussion; Sam Yahel- organ; Rob Burger- pump organ, accordion; Jenny Scheinman- violin; Bill Frisell- electric guitar on "The Long Day is Over;" Kenny Wollesen- drums on "The Long Day is Over."
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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