(06 February 2007) Celebrated artist Norah Jones continues her coffeehouse jazz and blues ballads in her
latest release, Not Too Late (EMI/Blue Note Records (USA) 0946 3 74516 2 5, 2007). This thirteen track CD has the rich and mellow vocals that Norah is so well-known for as well as guest vocals from M. Ward and Richard Julian.
This album shows the mature progression of this artist and she has written or collaborated on all the material presented. She especially displays her soulfulness throughout the blend of pop, soul, folk, country and jazz melodies with an intimate feel. The album was produced
by Lee Alexander, her longtime songwriting partner and bass player.
Her luxurious tones result in a striking moodiness and edge to these songs. In addition to her distinctive sound, Norah has matured with this album with new insights into her
lyrics. On Not Too Late she explores the world around her more intensively, from the darkly comic "My Dear Country" to the emotive inspirational final track that restores
our confidence that it is "not too late" for love.
The musicians appearing on this CD certainly deserve special recognition. Some artists have appeared with her previously including guitarists Jesse Harris, Adam Levy, Robbie McIntosh, and Kevin Breit, drummer Andy Borger, and singer Daru Oda. Special guests also appear including jazz organist Larry Goldings and Kronos Quartet cellist Jeff Ziegler.
Her soul-searching tunes open with "Wish I Could" which talks about a boyfriend that has been lost to war. The simple guitar accompaniment to her melancholic tones has a
simplicity that creates a tender ambience to the story. "Sinkin' Soon" has wonderful jazz undertones combined with Norah's sultry crooning. She has an unmistakable seductiveness and alluring jazz-blues vocals. J. Walter Hawkes trombone solo adds to the delight of
the mood. Her laid back style in "The Sun Doesn't Like You" alludes to suggestions of mortality.
"Until The End" and "Not My Friend" have a dreamy quality that is alluring. Norah reels in the listener with her heartfelt songs. Her soulfulness returns with "Thinking
About You" (the album's first single) and "Broken." Her lovely and tender renditions show off her sensitivity in the story she has to tell. The wistful piano intro to "My Dear Country" sets the tone for the darkly comic post-election horrors. "Wake Me Up" and "Little Room" have a more country feel while "Be My Somebody" has more upbeat and shifting tones.
The tender "Rosie's Lullaby" has some wonderful electric guitar riffs that set the mood for the touching vocals. The album closes with the title track, "Not Too Late," which is certainly a standout track. Her captivating style is showcased in this disarmingly seductive melody. She wears her heart on her sleeve with her poignant interpretive performance.
This third album exhibits the growth of this artist, and her mellowness and sexy vocals certainly improve with each production. Her style is distinctive and she has an everlasting quality of voice. Not Too Late is the culmination
of great music, great lyrics, and great singing. Norah is in the prime of her musical career,
and one can only expect that the future will continue to bring wonderful and captivating songs that reflect her irresistible vocals and stunning artistry.--Audrey Elliot in New York