Norah Jones - Not Too Late
Too many people in the world have Norah Jones pigeon holed as a sultry piano playing jazz singer, but there's so much more to this New York born musician. For a start she almost turned into a rock chick singing with Dave Grohl on the last Foo Fighters album. Granted it was an acoustic tracks, but it was still a very unlikely and unexpected collaboration. She was also lead vocalists with her friends band collectively known as Little Willies and later on this year will appear alongside Jude Law in the movie My Blueberry Nights. Her latest album "Not Too Late", her third, will please Norah's fans, but will also surprise them as she begins confidently to break new ground.
"Sinkin Soon" is very much in the tradition of a show tune. This could quite easily be from the musical Chicago or performed in Speakeasy in 1930s New Orleans. Old fashioned yet timeless, this unusual and playful track features piano (obviously a given), banjo and horn section which conjures up an image of a burlesque club. Suggestive and saucy yet tongue in cheek and very enjoyable. Norah sounds like she's having a rum old time of it instructing the listener to "hold your breath as down down down we go".
"Not My Friend" has a vocal, so crystal clear, gentle and emotionally that puts us in mind of the late great Karen Carpenter. The arrangement is simple but the mood of the songs is quite sombre. Sweeping elegant strings enhance the track but are never too intrusive. The ballad has Norah back in the comfort zone, comfortably placed at the piano with an acoustic guitar in the background, with the honest revelation "I cannot pretend anymore".
"Be My Somebody" sounds like NJ has recruited Sheryl Crow's musicians as this slice of country tinged rock is a jolly, feel good sound. Listen closer however and the lyrics reveal a tale of heartache, a crafty move as this track is just so upbeat. Title track and closing song "Not Too Late" is typically laid back and mellow with a relaxing dream like quality with Norah's husky vocal and the gentlest percussion.
Five years on from her debut, Norah Jones has widened her musical wings, confidently trying new things in the studio and on evidence alone in the shape of "Not Too Late" its a resounding success.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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