When Come Away with Me arrived with a big splash in 2002, Norah Jones was characterized as something of a 21st-century jazz diva, certainly informed by the likes of Billie Holiday but with pop instincts to put her on the charts and radio. Jazz proved to be only one of Jones's myriad influences, however. Over the course of her next three studio albums, including last November's The Fall (Blue Note), Jones went about defying expectations, not exactly with any grand gestures, but in a more subtle, if still readily evident, manner. So country, blues, Southern soul, folk, and additional pop permutations have crept into her music while she retains her characteristic sultry vocal style and deliciously sly phrasing. The Fall is tough to categorize. As Jones nudges into singer-songwriter territory, it's a sort of roots-informed alternate pop in a blues context with soul overtones. The sound is way more cohesive than that description, and the songs—all by Jones, a few with co-writers—are all adeptly crafted, with Jones's lyrics mostly musing over dilemmas of romance. A couple—"It's Gonna Be," "Stuck"—even flirt with rock, with snarly electric guitars lurking, suggesting Jones is far from done surprising us. (Image by Autumn DeWilde)
Wed., March 17, 7:30 p.m., 2010
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