Norah Jones & The Handsome Band - Live In 2004 (DVD)

Who'd have though it eh? Modern easy listening CD's from Jamie Cullum, Katie Melua and Norah Jones selling millions and making global stars out of the kind of music your parents like and Michael Parkinson champions on a regular basis. It might not be cool admitting your appreciation of Norah Jones for example, but I understand her appeal. Everything about Ravi Shankar's daughter is unthreatening. She's pretty, but not overtly sexual. Her voice is pitch perfect with an amazing range, without a hint of vocal histrionics ala Mariah Carey. Norah's style is laid back, mellow jazz with a nod to country, blues and soul. The self penned songs and choice of covers has a crossover appeal for the young and old alike. Here two albums have been phenomenal successes, so until Norah releases her third album what better way to remind yourself of her music than a DVD recorded live at Nashville with her backing musicians The Handsome Band.

The camera just loves Norah on this high quality recorded concert. Her voice is faultless and so is the way she plays piano, such ability for one so young. "Those Sweet Words" is a touching song which shows The Handsome Band performing perfectly with Norah, displaying great skill without being ostentatious. "Don't Miss You At All" has lyrics written by Norah to music composed by Duke Ellington. She performs this alone at the piano and looks comfortable and relaxed. This soon changes when special guest Dolly Parton turns up for the song "Creepin In". The contrast between these two singers could not be any more obvious. Dolly's hair, dress and make-up are the apotheosis of sheer overstatement while the more modestly dressed Norah is less showbiz and looks bemused by the antics of Dolly. Still it's a marvellous song with an incredible mandolin solo from Kevin Breit. The two very different voices work surprisingly well together though Norah looks a little bit uncomfortable, smiling through gritted teeth towards the end. Other musicians on the night include Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, but Norah works best when she's alone with the Handsome Band.

This is a professionally made DVD with a couple of music videos, out takes, bonus tracks and three mini documentaries. The best being "24 Hours On The Handsome Bus" which shows the musicians being well behaved and disciplined. It's typically Norah, which is why we love her so much

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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