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Nora Jones
Jazz

Management Company:BLUE NOTE RECORDS

Although her debut, Come Away with Me, comes from the famed jazz label Blue Note, 22-year-old Norah Jones works at a crossroads of styles: She's partly pop, partly soul, and, yes, partly jazz. In a way, she's the younger sister of artists such as Cassandra Wilson, Holly Cole, and Madeleine Peyroux, singers who bring a jazz sensibility to pop melodies, and vice versa. Produced by the legendary Arif Mardin -- who worked with Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, and Laura Nyro -- Come Away with Me has an easygoing sophistication that belies Jones's age. A native of Texas, where she grew up studying jazz piano and voice, Jones ended up in New York, and recently she contributed vocals to Charlie Hunter's Songs from the Analog Playground, covering songs by Bryan Ferry and Nick Drake. On her own, Jones presents an understated confidence, both in her light and melodic piano playing and in her seductive and sensual voice. In a feat of alchemy, she transforms Hank Williams's honky-tonk classic "Cold Cold Heart" into a smoky ballad with a walking bass line. "Don't Know Why," written by her bass player, Jesse Harris, is a lovely folk-tinged melody that Jones sings slightly behind the beat. The melancholy "The Long Day Is Over," which Jones wrote with Harris, features shimmering guitar work from Bill Frisell. It adds up to an impressive debut, and Come Away with Me is an invitation that's hard to resist. Steve Klinge
Nora Jones CDs:
Come Away With Me

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