Rick Imamoto - July 2002

Emerging onto the music scene with her successful debut album entitled, "Come Away With Me," Norah Jones has captured the attention of music enthusiasts with her impressive, transcendant blend of jazz and country vocal stylings. On a cool midsummer's night in Southern California, nestled within the cozy confines of the Hollywood Hills, Jones mesmerized a sold out crowd of 1,200 at the John Anson Ford Theatre.

The opening notes to "Turn Me On" were greeted by a warm wave of applause as well as a few muffled gasps, inspired by the realization that Norah's exquisite voice was even more impressive in a live setting than in the vocal samples from her studio recordings. Jones was well supported by her trio of backup musicians, led by bassist Lee Alexander (also a co-writer on several songs), guitarist Adam Levy and drummer Dan Rieser.

"Don't Ask Me Why" the first single from "Come Away With Me" was well recieved by the sold out crowd, as were the rest of the tunes from her CD, most notably the title track, "Come Away With Me" which, Jones penned herself. Still in her early twenties, Norah's youth and freshness were evident in the innocent, almost girlish patter between songs, resulting in a refreshing sort of charm only displayed by those not yet affected by fame or fortune.

Although her personality has remained unaffected, Norah's vocal persona demonstrated the knowing assuredness of a veteran chanteuse in delivering a soulful rendition of the timeless classic, "Tennessee Waltz." Norah's sultry rendition of the Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart" paid homage to her country and western interests, perhaps cultivated during her years spent in Dallas, Texas, where her mother relocated to after Norah's birth in New York. Jones is the daughter of musician Ravi Shankar, although Jones has stated that her musical tastes were more highly influenced by her mother, who raised Norah on her own in New York and Texas.

Critics have had a difficult time pigeonholing Ms. Jones into any specific category, as her personal vocal stylings have an unmistakable individuality that transcends the genres of both country and jazz. Only time will tell us in which direction Norah Jones' career and music shall go, but Norah and her cohorts have displayed enough talent and ability to potentially flesh out their concert sets and successfully carve out their niche in what shall most likely be a bright future in the world of popular music.


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