The contemporary jazz and soul queen is back! Norah Jones’ sixth studio album Day Breaks sees her return to the piano, producing music with a similar vibe to her early work. I’ve admired her music for years, but there’s a charm to the “Come Away With Me” sound that I’ve been missing. That’s not to say her albums since then haven’t been beautiful. They have. They’ve earned her some deserved nominations and awards along the way too. I especially loved her collaboration with Billie Joe Armstrong on a collection of Everly Brothers covers. However, it’s original material I’m craving.
The music is heavenly; her piano melodies are gorgeous, the bass deep and effective and the strings and brass employed strategically.
I think jazz, when performed coherently, can get to the heart of humanity more effectively than other genres. When I think of jazz I think of creative freedom. Day Breaks embodies this and takes you into Norah’s world. ‘Burn’ and ‘Tragedy’ provide a slow open to the record with relatively crestfallen subjects. However, conscious that sadness only sells if it’s laced with moments of optimism, Norah becomes more sanguine on ‘And Then There Was You’ and ‘It’s A Wonderful Time For Love’.
For the most part, Norah remains in the realms of downbeat reflection. The music is heavenly; her piano melodies are gorgeous, the bass is deep and effective and the strings and brass are employed strategically. The combination of Norah, Pete Remm and Sarah Oda on songwriting duty produces great results. In addition to this, she gives us some delightful cover versions of Neil Young, Horace Silver, and Duke Ellington. ‘Don’t Be Denied’ may be my favourite for the plethora of musicians working together harmoniously, including Pete on the Hammond B-3 Organ and Sarah as one of the backing vocalists.
On the one hand, Day Breaks is classic Norah, but her diverse career means that she has created an album rich with experience.
By Will Hunt
Norah’s old sound delivered with more career experience
Fantastic ensemble achievement
Well-chosen covers to appear alongside her originals.
Watch the music video for Will 2 Listen’s TOTW ‘Carry On‘ below:
|4. It’s A Wonderful Time For Love|
|5. And Then There Was You|
|6. Don’t Be Denied|
|7. Day Breaks|
|9. Once I Had A Laugh|
|10. Sleeping Wild|
|11. Carry On|
|12. Fleurette Africaine (African Flower)|