Raising the Bar
Norah Jones has become one of those refreshing new faces in the music industry. After the bombardment of recent popular music, mainly dominated by whiny tricks and divas, she makes one very aware of a vocalist who is not afraid to produce an album that doesnâ€šÃ„Ã´t center solely on the vocals. With a voice so rich and velvety, sounding much like the smooth crooning of Judy Garland and Joni Mitchell, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s hard to imagine that she wouldnâ€šÃ„Ã´t be rubbing the publicâ€šÃ„Ã´s nose in her ample ability. Instead, she opts to find other musicians equally balanced in skill to create a collection of pieces with. For instance, in â€šÃ„ÃºWhat Am I to You?â€šÃ„Ã¹ instead of wailing some showy vocal interlude, Miss Jones subsides to her guitarist from the Handsome Band as he bridges the versesâ€šÃ„Ã´ gaps. Likewise, when Miss Jones duets with Dolly Parton in â€šÃ„ÃºCreepinâ€šÃ„Ã´ In,” neither singer plays a lead role. They blend their voices, flawlessly balancing the soprano and alto.
This album spans several genres, from jazz to folk to blues to country, using a plethora of guest musicians/songwriters from Tom Waits to Duke Ellington, but still manages to maintain its underlying continuity. â€šÃ„ÃºFeels Like Homeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is the perfect title for this album. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s chill, comforting, soothing. It aptly describes the mellow sound of each of the styles Miss Jones and her fellow musicians achieve. It is also the perfect compliment to her first album. After breaking into the field, she follows up with a record of such integrity and texture; it can almost be seen as Norah Jones single-handedly raising the bar in the world of pop jazz.