Singer songwriter Norah Jones is back with a bang. After a 4-year wait, the 9 time Grammy award winning artist returns with her sixth studio album Day Breaks which I assure you is well worth  a listen. Jones’ sparkling career began with 2002’s Come Away With Me, arguably her most well-known album, followed by 2004’s Feels Like Home, 2007’s Not Too Late, 2009’s The Fall and 2012’s Little Broken Hearts.

“From its adventurous chord progressions to its clashing chords, she confidently immerses her music in this genre, creating a truly amazing album”

In this album, Norah returns to her roots: her piano, and throughout the album, we can really feel the intense relationship cultured between Norah and her instrument.  

In Day Breaks, Norah Jones explores the wonders of jazz. From its adventurous chord progressions to its clashing chords, she confidently immerses her music in this genre, creating a truly amazing album. But I wouldn’t say this album is pure jazz, there’s actually a wide variety of genres coming together to form Day Breaks. Songs like ‘Don’t Be Denied’ have that country feel as if I’m sat on a log around a fire with a guitar.

Opener ‘Burn’ sets the jazz stage and unfolds with a sultry smoulder and with a beat that sounds like a bongo drum, and the glorious chords combine with a head nodding, disgusting (in a good way) bass line. This track I feel has a very Robert Glasper-ish vibe which I loved, like his song ‘Let It Ride’ on his album Black Radio 2, featuring Norah Jones herself.

“They complement each other so well, allowing the listener to fully appreciate the beautiful sounds”

Listening to ‘And There Was You’, hearing Jones’ wispy voice and the gentle, soft chords, I was transported to a cloudy jazz bar in a room with a woman in a sparkly red dress on top of a piano. Day Breaks really has this effect. The album features jazz luminaries including saxophonist Wayne Shorter, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and drummer Brian Blade, and they’re amazing. It’s as if when I’m listening to the songs, I’m sat only a few metres away from the musicians. Throughout, a perfect balance is formed between the instrumental solos and Jones’ vocals. They complement each other so well, allowing the listener to fully appreciate the beautiful sounds. At times, in songs like ‘It’s a Wonderful Time for Love’ it’s as if the musicians are improvising, which makes the solos sound so natural and not too rehearsed.

The sounds throughout the album are so rich, like during ‘Once I Had A Laugh’ the brass fills the air.
“I finally know who I’m supposed to be,” Jones sings on ‘Flipside’, a declaration signifying a talented artist’s comeback to a beloved genre which she suits so well.

Amaka Okpalugo

Image courtesy of Norah Jones via Facebook

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