UNIVERSAL MUSIC, Rs 295
Those who have followed her music know her style and her jazz influences felt on most of her work down her 14-year career. Norah Jones’ sixth album features nine original songs and three covers that take you back to her roots.
Norah makes a jazz record with the help of iconic saxophonist Wayne Shorter, drummer Brian Blade, bassist John Patitucci and organist Dr Lonnie Smith. The covers include Horace Silver’s Peace, Duke Ellington’s Fleurette Africaine and Neil Young’s Don’t Be Denied. She sounds empowered on Horace Silver’s Peace: “Life’s true meaning comes to you / And the freedom you seek is one / Peace is for everyone.”
Wayne Shorter appears on the opener Burn, his soprano saxophone the perfect accompanist to Norah’s velvety lead. On Tragedy, we see the slow side of the singer as she harps on just one word. Flipside, a song about racial and civic injustice, sees her pick up the pace spending most of its time on rippling piano and a repetitious swinging groove. The lyrics that dwell on freedom call out: “If we’re all free, then why does it seem we can’t just be?” running up to, “Your temperature’s well past a hundred and two / Put the guns away, or we’ll all gonna lose…”.
The joyous swinging It’s A Wonderful Time For Love is followed by the mid-tempo, mellow And Then There Was You. The bluesy Once I Had A Laugh has a more edgy sound reminiscent of her earlier piano pieces. Norah seems to be enjoying herself on the piano, sometimes in a crawl, to a slow jam, to keep up the pace of the album. The track is minus any great lyrics, but Norah’s luscious voice seems to enjoy telling you when we used to have a good time, now that we are getting older. Sleeping Wild is full jazz play while Carry On, with its sweet melody, focuses on leaving the past as the past and carrying on.
With almost all lyrics written by Norah, expect some great compositions from the young lady who never fails to make an album to remember. She has fallen back in love with her piano and it permeates every note. Add to this the jazz influenced arrangements and sublime musicianship of her band with accomplished musicians and what you get is a faultless production. Put this on a good sound system and I guarantee that you will have the impression that you are sitting a few feet away from the musicians.
Day Breaks sees Norah return to familiar territory; it is a beautiful album which, at times, is sure to give you chills. Lyrics included.
Verus Ferreira is a freelance music journalist for over three decades, contributing articles to various newspapers and magazines. He is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book. Besides being a music aficionado, he is also a photo-journalist. He contributes to Musicunplugged.in. Reach him at E: firstname.lastname@example.org or verusferreira.com