on November 29, 2002
I purchased this CD shortly after it was released; it was very cheap, and after I listened to it in the store several times, I took it home. Ever since then, I have listened to it a myriad of times. Yet, I never tire of hearing her voice with her simple, yet elegant piano playing in the background.
Since her quiet release a while ago, she has steadily grown in popularity; she played on The Tonight Show and recently on a tribute to Elvis. In an interview, when someone asked her why she has so many fans, she replied, "I think my music appeals to people because of its simplicity." (paraphrased) I agree.
Although you cannot hear every song or even a whole song by listening to Amazon's excerpts, it does give you a preview of her sultry voice and jazz influences. This CD filled a void for me. She is unlike many contemporary artists; it is difficult to foist her into a genre. She does not try to emulate current great and not so great jazz or rock singers.
In a review of her music in a magazine, the reviewer critized her lack of variance in her songs. The reviewer sugested that she should have added more "upbeat" melodies. Yet, what I like about this CD is its consistant elegance and beautiful simplicity with her voice providing debth and wisdom beyond her age. This is a standout CD because she attempts to remain true to herself. She is now recognized not because of her marketing team (and style coordinator), but because of simplicity: simple talent.
I rarely would give a CD five stars, but this is at least a 4.7. I hope you enjoy her music as much as I do.
on February 27, 2002
What an auspicious recording this is. We've only just begun to witness what Norah Jones has to offer. This album is a gem. Norah Jones is a humble, polished performer who never lets her own ambition cloud her purpose -- performing brilliant, deceptively simple and beautiful music. "Come Away With Me" is eclectic in feel, ranging from jazz, country to almost R&B. Jones is a musical chameleon -- you never realize what style you're listening to -- you simply know it is extraordinary. The caliber of each musician is phenomenal and Jones herself possesses a voice that is all at once smokey, rich, warm and intimate.
Norah Jones is not solely a jazz pianist with a great sound -- she is a sensitive songwriter as well. Several of her own songs appear on the CD, including the title track. I found the original material by Norah and multi-talented band members, Lee Alexander and Jesse Harris, to surpass the "classics" which are also offered. The original material on the album is a divine marriage of first-class music with marvelous lyrics. There is a universal quality to every track that makes them stand out of time and place. The lyrics are unique -- yet so personal they almost feel familiar without seeming cliched. Jones and her ensemble never allow the material to become bland or mundane.
If you purchase "Come Away With Me" you'll be let in on a big secret. Norah Jones is an up and coming talent who has just begun to establish herself among the upper echelon of true American musicians.
on March 15, 2002
Discovering that Norah Jones is in fact the real-life daughter of Indian classical maestro Ravi Shankar was what initially got me interested in her music. As an active Anoushka Shankar fan (for those of you who don't know yet, shes Norah Jones' sister, and is an Indian classical recording artist) I expected something similar from Norah. I must say though, that despite her heavily Indian classical background, Norah has chosen to take on tracks steeped in Western Jazz influences, and pulls it off with remarkable ease.
It pays to know a little about Norah Jones before listening to her music. I hear the term 'Billy Holiday' being loosely thrown around when people review her music, but Norah Jones has, with great subtlety, used her classical background to create a record that betrays any trace of Eastern influences. Being as she is the offspring of an Indian father and a Southern mother, Norah's Texan upbringing is evident throughout the record. However, even though this is her debut album, she has been making music for a while (if you can find her rare 'First Sessions' EP from 2000, you should get it) and it shows. This is no wary first album, nor is it a pretentious and I'm-a-star-because-my-dad-is-one type recording. In fact, Norah's press releases strain to avoid mentioning her father's name and to promote her as an artist all her own.
I first heard Norah over the Internet, purely by chance, and I was instantly reminded of Carole King, and particularly of two seemingly different albums - Sinead O'Connor's 'Am I Not your Girl?', and Gloria Estefan's 'Mi Tierra'. The comparison may not be evident immediately, but if you've listened to these two albums you may know exactly what to expect. I do agree with reviewers who say that her voice is 'smokey' but its also 'rustic' and 'full-bodied'.
The album itself is a revelation in terms. For one, it is being released at discount price to begin with (even though it is a full length 14 track LP), a strategy that could or could not pay off, especially considering what little promotion Norah has been given thus far. Secondly, its been a long while since we've had true talent cover the great blues classics and add their own original material and input. While there are occassional instances when an artist treats a cover with respect (such as Fiona Apple's version of The Beatles' 'Across the Universe'), its not every artist that has the raw talent and energy to grasp the attention of an audience that has grown weary of the vapid material world in general. In Norah Jones, we find that promise.
Critics may argue that the two best songs here themselves are the covers that Norah has chosen. One is Hank William's torch song 'Cold Cold Heart'. The other, which has on numerous occassions been called the album's finest track, is her cover of John D. Loudermilk's "Turn Me On". Granted that these lyrics aren't exactly poetic or steeped in the mythical streams of conciousness that emanate from both her father and sister's body of work, but in a woodsy, plain way, Norah scores with simplicity with her voice, much the same way that her sibling scores with the simplicity of her instrumentation.
What I like about Norah Jones is her reserve and the ability to refrain from milking a tear-jerker ballad for all its' worth. This is not a diva in training, and we should all be so lucky. Perhaps its Miss Shankar's Eastern heritage that lends her that special mystique, but whatever it is, shes got a great first album out, and its one that we should all be listening to.
I wanted to jot down the names of a few specific albums that I felt 'Come away with me' had much in common with, in terms of spirit and ambience. In addition to the two albums I had mentioned before, it also carries the essence sported by Susheela Raman's stunning album 'Salt Rain', and by Vanessa Paradis' 2000 album 'Bliss'. Norah Jones' debut is one that fits in more with the Real World catalog - I'd be excited if she could do some collaborative work with Afro Celt Sound System or Sam Mills.
All in all, a splendid effort. If you're a fan of New Age and world music, and even if you haven't been a fan of bluegrass or Jazz, this is one album that could possibly open up new areas of musical interests for you. If only for just that reason, you should definitely get this. Highly recommended.
on June 7, 2002
I'm so amused that the CD listed at the top of your current picks gets all these derogatory comments in the posted reviews. Why has this young lady risen to the top of people's awareness?
My answer: class.
I've been a music columnist for over 20 years, and a professional musician for 35 years.
I guess everyone knows this is Ravi Shankar's daughter.
I am so worn out by these know-it-alls who pan real talent when it comes along.
Nora Jones is authentic. Her choice of Hank Williams' classic is no doubt sung for just these type of people who think they know so much that they have to pan her work. It's a brilliant choice of material, and a splendid, understated treatment of a classic.
I could say so much more.
Nora Jones has the class and depth in her soul to keep it simple, and do it right - at her age, a phenomenal acheivement. Put her next to "hot tickets" like Dido and Alicia Keys and you can just throw all the others in the can, as far as I am concerned.
This is real music, with lucid lyrics, for real people.
A welcome respite in a world full of hyped noise.
That's why she is commanding attention.
She's the real deal. No pretenses - unlike these snobs with their high-minded criticisms.
Enjoy some real talent - and relax. You deserve it.
"This is really the record I wanted to make." -Nora Jones
Norah Jones was born in Brooklyn and raised in Dallas, Texas. Her love for Jazz evolved while attending Dallas' Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She then majored in jazz piano at the University of North Texas for two years.
She then took a trip to New York and while this started as a summer vacation, Norah was soon found herself hanging around local songwriters and became inspired to write some original songs.
"The music scene is so huge. I found it very exciting. I especially enjoyed hearing amazing songwriters at places like The Living Room. Everything opened up for me. I couldn't leave."
She has performed with the Laszlo band and in Wax Poetic. Eventually she joined a band with local songwriter Jesse Harris where she sang and played piano.
In January 2001 she signed with Blue Note Records. This is her first Blue Note release and was produced by Arif Mardin, Jay Newland and Craig Street.
Norah includes classic tunes from Hank Williams', "Cold, Cold Heart," J.D. Loudermilk's "Turn Me On," and Hoagy Charmichael's "The nearness of You." Then she delights with originals by her bandmates. Jesse Harris', "Don't Know Why" and Lee Alexander, "Seven Years" are beautiful songs that leave you so nostalgic for the past, yet they are new songs.
She is inspired by the music of yesterday and loves Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles.
I can't believe she has just tuned 23!
Ok, so I listened to this CD about 10 times today! Here is what I think of each song:
Don't Know Why - A slow seduction of words that evoke a feeling of absolute longing, yet a certain resolution instead of taking action.
Seven Years - Innocence personified.
"Fragile as a leaf in autumn
Just fallin' to the ground
Without a sound"
Cold Cold Heart - Norah's voice melts this silky smooth song.
Feelin' The Same Way - Nice twisty little number that seems to spin in circles. This song brings out the smoky elements in her voice.
Come Away With Me - The pace drops to melting snow. It is terribly romantic as she sings of wanting to wake up with the rain falling on a tin roof in the arms of the one she loves.
Shoot The Moon - Moody Blue Song.
Turn Me On - The pace picks up and Norah sings of a flower waiting to bloom and a light bulb in a dark room. Cute song actually. One of my favorites.
Lonestar - Country flavor. She wishes for a sign in the night sky.
I've Got to See You Again - Pure seduction. Norah's voice really comes alive in this song. I'm thinking this is what we can look forward to in the future!
Painter Song - Fun, dreamy melody about being a painter. French café flair fantasy about being in a painting.
One Flight Down - Almost matter-of-fact. Norah's voice is very clear in this song and quite strong. I like trying to figure out Jesse Harris' song with all their secret meanings.
Nightingale - Almost has a lullaby quality.
The Long Day is Over - Perhaps the slowest song, perfect to fall asleep to.
The Nearness of You - Then, this will wake you up a bit, yet it still has a sleepy and breathy quality.
Smooth Sexy Selections in a Dreamy World of Jazz, Soul and Country. Nora Teases the listener with her voice, mercilessly.
~The Rebecca Review
on August 12, 2002
I had my television on as background noise one morning while getting dressed. After half listening to what was some type of a music "countdown" my ears did a double take. I heard a voice
so unique that I ran to the TV to see who it was. Not since Sade had I heard a female voice that I could truly appreciate for the quality, uniqueness, and sheer talent of vocal abilities. I am so sick of all the little girl screechy, electronically manipulated, over dubbed, forced down my throat supposed singers out there. Nora Jones gives us hope that their really are still some people in charge who can recognize talent when they hear it.
Norah Jones' first full-length disc is excellent. Arif Mardin does a masterful job of production. The disc starts with a pretty lounge tune "Don't Know Why," "You'll be on my mind forever." The guitar on the quiet "Seven Years" is beautiful as Norah sings the Mona Lisa-like lyric, "Crooked smile on her face tells a tale of grace that's all her own." Lee Alexander's thumping bass and Jones' piano distill with simplicity the elements of melody & emotion on Hank Williams' "Cold Cold Heart." Alexander's "Feelin' the Same Way" is a perky love song with nice energy. Jones wrote the title track "Come Away With Me." It is one of the most beautiful of melodies. "Shoot the Moon" with its languid guitar is a slow song of lonliness. My favorite track is J.D. Loudermilk's "Turn Me On." Norah's sultry vocal entices, "Like a flower waiting to bloom, like a lightbulb in a darkened room, I'm sitting here waiting for you to come home and turn me on." "Lonestar" is a slow country blues. "I could almost go there just to live in a dream," Norah sings on the torch blues "I've Got to See You Again." "Painter's Song" is whimsical. "One Flight Down" has a smoky vocal with a pretty melody. The Jones' penned "Nightingale" has a pretty guitar part with dreamy vocals. Jones' piano gives a sense of flight and freedom as she sings, "You can take me away." "The Long Day Is Over" has a stately feel. The CD concludes with Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You," "When you're in my arms & I feel you so close to me, all my wildest dreams come true." For me, this CD could only be stronger with a few toe tappers and a little more variety in tempo. This is a strong effort, a refreshing and rewarding listening experience. Let Norah turn you on!
on September 25, 2002
One reviewer wrote that the arrangements were lacking. I simply cannot understand that. I've been a musician my entire life. I've played it all from elementary school marches to clasical, with Dixieland, Rock & Roll and Jazz in between. Personally, I've never had ANY music affect me the way this album has. Everytime I hear it (and that's daily) I hear something new.
It goes without saying that Ms. Jones' voice is second to none. That wonderful Julie London quality coupled with the seemingly simple yet complex arrangements serve up a sound that nearly defies discription. EVERYTIME I hear the piano passage in Cold, Cold Heart I'm blown away by her grasp of chord structure. This woman's only 23 years old, folks!
"I've Got To See You Again" ranks as my favorite. No wait! Maybe it's "Seven Years". Or, maybe it's... Listen. There are 14 cuts on this album and ALL of them are absolute charmers.
You simply can't go wrong buying this CD. You're gonna love it!
on February 26, 2002
Like a pair of old jeans, Norah Jones just makes you feel at home. Although she's signed to a jazz label, NJ is more Joni Mitchell than Nina Simone, and her voice, though raw and young, has a rich, refreshing honesty that seduces purely with its simplicity and lack of pretention. Her piano playing is unassuming and tasteful, and seems content with its supporting role in the ensemble. While Jones's own songwriting has yet to reach the same level as the rest of the album (and most noticeably, that of her guitarist, Jesse Harris and bassist Lee Alexander), she successfully navigates a warm and relaxed set, perfect for late night listening.
on November 7, 2003
I, like all of you, have a lot of stress in my life. I'm a freshman in high school, and it isn't easy, plus cross country after school. So I just really like to kick back and try to de-stress myself with some of Norah Jone's music. By the way, yes, I am 14 years old. I just have a hatred for my older sister's rap music and this is my revenge. I prefer either oldies like Elton John or Fleetwood Mac, or women who either play their own instruments or write their own songs, like Jewel (except her new cd, which I hate), Fiona Apple, Sarah MacLachlan, etc. So here's my synopsis of her cd
1) Don't Know Why-an obvious mellow hit. Absolutely beautiful 5/5
2) Seven Years- another great one with a mellow tune and one of my favorites. 4.5/5
3) Cold Cold Heart- I don't really like the tune-too different from all of her others. 2.5/5
4) Feelin' the Same Way- A really good summer song with a sunny beat. 4.5/5
5) Come Away With Me- Great. One of my favorites and great for the bath on a rainy day. 5/5
6) Shoot The Moon-Another great summer song. Sounds like track #4, but better.Another one of my favorites 5/5
7) Turn Me On- Kind of dull and boring lyrics. 2/5
8) Lonestar-Different and Great. 4.5/5
9) I've Got To See You Again- A very, very sexy song with great piano music. 5/5
10) Painter Song- Absolutely no tune but ok. 3.5/5
11) One Flight Down- Relaxing with an ok beat 4/5
12) Nightingale- In a strange way, very uplifting. 4/5
13) The Long Day Is Over-Sounds like track #11, but way better. Sssssooooo relaxing. One problem: way too short. One of my favorites. 5/5
14) The Nearness of You-She performed this one as herself in TWO WEEKS NOTICE. Is ok, but like #10 doesn't really have a beat. 3.5/5
All in all I really loved it and liked most of the songs. Great for anyone of any age.