Singer/songwriter Norah Jones (born Geetali Norah Shankar) has won nine Grammy Awards and sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Day Breaks, out via Blue Note on Oct 7, is “a kindred spirit to her breakout debut Come Away With Me“.
Jones’ newest solo album marks a shift since her last release, 2012’s pop-tinged Little Broken Hearts. Returning to the piano – rather than the guitar, her primary instrument for past albums – Jones wrote nine original songs, recorded alongside three covers (Horace Silver, Duke Ellington, Neil Young) during autumn 2015. Saxophonist Wayne Shorter, organist Dr Lonnie Smith, and drummer Brian Blade, all fellow label-mates, back her.
Jones’ solo debut, 2002’s Come Away With Me, led to commercial success and critical acclaim thanks to her sultry fusion of jazz and country; the album won five Grammys and domestically sold more than 11 million copies, according to Nielsen Music.
“Then she spent the next decade-plus seemingly attempting to shed that coffeehouse-singer persona, trying new instruments and genres,” noted Billboard. Her subsequent studio albums included Feels Like Home (2004) and Not Too Late (2007).
Next she attempted acting (billed along movie stars Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law) in Wong Kar-Wai’s first English-language US-set film, My Blueberry Nights. Critic A.O. Scott of the New York Times summed her up as “a good sport if not a natural actress”, though he described the film at large as “affected and emotionally inert”. He continued “Ms Jones, whose diffidence lends her musical performances an air of intrigue and seduction, does not so much fail to act as refuse to try.”
In 2009 she returned to the music milieu with The Fall, followed by her most recent solo release, Little Broken Hearts, in 2012, produced by Danger Mouse.
Between then and now, she partook in Foreverly (2013) with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong – who coincidentally also released a new album on Oct 7 – and No Fools, No Fun (2014), with her alt-country band Puss ‘N Boots. Collaborations over the last few years spanned Willie Nelson to Seth MacFarlane, as well as with her musician half-sister, Anoushka Shankar (both progeny of Ravi Shankar, famed Indian sitar player and composer, who died in 2012).
The songstress has already released three singles off Day Breaks the cautionary tale Tragedy, the delicate Carry On, and the politically resonant Flipside. – AFP Relaxnews