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CD Reviews: Norah Jones
Norah Jones: Come Away With Me
February 2003
By: Linda Spielman
album cover of Norah Jones's Come Away With Me

Strolling past the television one afternoon in the summer of 2002 while in the midst of doing some house cleaning, I became transfixed on a voice that was on VH-1. My first thought was that I turned on the wrong station because what I was hearing was not what I was accustomed to on VH-1. I stopped cleaning, sat down for a brief moment to see who the voice belonged to and noticed the name of Norah Jones as it flashed in the corner of my screen. I am not an avid Jazz fan, but this woman and her voice were captivating.

For the next few weeks, I didn't see or hear much about Norah Jones. When I was interviewing a band, we discussed the evolution of the music industry and I asked them who they thought were the new buzz-worthy artists ready to make their mark in the music world. Almost in unison, all of the members immediately uttered the name of Norah Jones. So, my next thought was, "maybe I should check out this artist." I went to the store, bought the reasonably priced CD, and took it home for a listen. That was several months ago and Come Away With Me is still in my stereo today.

The first single released to radio and VH-1 entitled Don't Know Why showcases haunting Billie Holiday-esque vocals. The simplistic style and beauty of Norah Jones resonates in her songs, her piano playing and her video. A lot of the songs on the album, which are either covers, written by others like Jesse Harris for Jones, or written by Jones herself, are all very similar in nature. There is little variance in the movement of tempos between tracks. To some, this may be a hit against purchasing the album, but to many jazz lovers or newly converted jazz lovers (like me), this album is pure musicianship. There is a relaxing feel with her piano playing and in a voice that can't be matched. When listening to the album, it is as if I personally can see the music coming out, note for note and bar for bar. Like I said, the even flow of the album may not be for everyone. But, true jazz fans and those open to discovering something special will appreciate what this 22 year-old artist has to offer the to music world in 2003 and beyond.

The members in the band I interviewed must have either had ESP or just truly recognized a great talent when they heard it. And now, the rest of the world is finding out the grand scale of talent that is Norah Jones. Not only taking part in TV tribute specials for Elvis and Willie Nelson, Norah Jones is quite rapidly receiving awards probably faster than she can build a display case for them all. Rolling Stone has considered her one of their People of the Year recipients. Vanity Fair included her in with such female heavy hitters as J. Lo and Gwen Stefani in a recent issue dedicated to music. And, most notably, Norah Jones received five Grammy Nominations for Song of The Year (for Don't Know Why, written by Jesse Harris), Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of The Year, and Best Produced & Engineered--- only to walk away from the 45th Annual Grammy Awards on February 23, 2003 with every award she was nominated for. Without a doubt, Norah Jones is a force to be acknowledged in the music industry. Hers is a sound that is fresh and new to mainstream listeners. For all the jazz fans (Bill Cosby where are you?) out there, your music is being heard by many of us who just now have been exposed for the new era of Jazz.