Norah Jones – …featuring Norah Jones

January 01, 1970

(Blue Note Records)

 

www.bluenote.com

 

She may have sold millions of CDs, amassed a devoted fan
base and won the Grammy for Album of the Year for her debut – but one common
criticism of Norah Jones has been that her music is too “samey” and not
exciting enough. Her new CD …featuring
Norah Jones
— which arrives almost a year to the day after her last album, The Fall — should go a long way
toward dispelling that criticism. At a sprawling 18 tracks, the emphasis here
is on diversity. This is an album of previously released duets, not a new
studio effort. Still, it’s handy to have all these songs in one place for the
first time – and the range of artists that Jones has worked with is impressive,
to say the least. After opening with a tune by her side project, The Little
Willies, …featuring finds her dueting
with legends and lesser-known artists alike and covering a multitude of genres
along the way.

 

While there’s not really a strict thematic structure to the
track listing, the songs tend to be grouped together by genre at times. Some of
the highlights include Jones’ playful duet with Willie Nelson on the standard
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” a winding rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Court and
Spark” performed with Herbie Hancock and the closing track, a sort of
deconstructionist duet with M. Ward on Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou.” In between,
she lends her sultry, distinct vocals to recordings with everyone from
alt-country artists to hip-hoppers. Next time you think that all of Norah
Jones’ work sounds the same, ask yourself this: who else could sing with both
Dolly Parton and Talib Kweli and sound like they’re perfectly at home in both
contexts?

 

DOWNLOAD: “Baby
It’s Cold Outside” (Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones), “The Best Part” (El
Madmo featuring Norah Jones), “Blue Bayou” (Norah Jones featuring M. Ward)   DAVE STEINFELD

 

 

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