Norah Jones

By James Keller

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” charted as a number one song in the U.S. last year. While it’s a cleverly simple and beautifully sung jazz track, it also has all the key ingredients of a good pop song. It’s catchy, full of hooks and perfectly produced.
The real surprise came when millions of pre-pubescent teens all over North America put Come Away With Me in their parents’ CD players and collectively exclaimed: “What the hell is this?”
Fortunately, this sadly unpredictable twist for the teeny bobbers of our consumer-driven music industry shines as a pleasant, delightful surprise for those of us in search of skillfully crafted, delicately played, intelligent music.
From start to finish, Jones’ singing and piano stylings take us through her version of modern jazz, a hybrid of the soul and spirit of traditional vocal jazz and the charm and accessibility of the mainstream. From decidedly country tracks like “Lonestar” and an outstanding cover of Hank Williams’ “Cold Cold Heart,” to Jones’ own creations like the albums’ title track, Come Away With Me is a safe bet while still gracefully daring.
2-Beth Orton, Daybreaker (Capitol)
3-Young and Sexy, Stand Up For Your Mother (Mint)