Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Norah Jones - Day Breaks (2016)

NEW MUSIC WEEK 2016 (NOVEMBER 14-20, 2016)

Simply put, this is Norah's best album since Come Away With Me and the most relaxing set I've heard in years. The album features Jones' piano playing which has, unfortunately, been minimized on some of her more recent releases; it's good to hear it again.

Just my two cents: the title shoulda been Night Breaks, because this is one of those perfect nighttime albums. Better every time I spin it. Metacritic currently has it rated at 77, which is low to these ears.

As I write these words, I've just finished the whole album and I'm so relaxed I'll be lucky to get anything else done today.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #2
Peak on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart: #1

  1. I'm grabbed instantly by Jones' sultry voice and Wayne Shorter's plaintive soprano sax on the lead track, Burn. 
  2. The best track on the disc, Tragedy
  3. I want to dislike Flipside because the faster tempo doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the album, but Dr. Lonnie Smith's B-3 is just too good.
  4. It's A Wonderful Time For Love sounds like it's been in the Great American Songbook for decades.
  5. And Then There Was You is a gorgeous waltz which works beautifully in a trio setting, then the strings come in and it's just perfect.
  6. The first of three covers of the album, Jones tackles Neil Young's Don't Be Denied from 1973. I'm not a Young fan, but Jones does the best she can. Nonetheless, this is the blandest track on the album and my least favorite. Still, I can't skip it because it fits the overall mood of this joint.
  7. The title song was the first single and I can't stop analyzing the mesmerizing arrangement and atypical chord progressions. I'm completely captivated and there's Wayne Shorter again.
  8. The second cover on the album is Peace by legendary bandleader Horace Silver, written in 1959. A standard done right. Shorter contributes his best solo on the album and Jones' ain't too bad, either.
  9. Once I Had A Laugh features a wordless chorus and a NOLA horn arrangement.
  10. Sleeping Wild reminds me more than a little like Norah's take on Cold Cold Heart from her debut album.  And that's fine with me.
  11. The penultimate tune, Carry On, is a country-ish waltz and features subtle B-3 work. Fits perfectly.
  12. The final cut is Fleurette Africaine (African Flower), a 1962 tune by Duke Ellington. No lyrics, just Jones humming a melody alongside Shorter's improvisations. Damn sexy.
An entire album I'll play without skipping a track. Don't get much better than that.

click to enlarge

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None

Previously revisited for the blog:
...Little Broken Hearts (2012)
The Fall (2009)
Feels Like Home (2004)
Come Away With Me (2002)

1 comment:

  1. So I spent a nice, though not quiet, pizza dinner with Ms. Jones on a cool night on the back porch recently. (Full disclosure: wife was at yoga and Jones was present in hi rez files.) She was in fine voice, enchanting as always, and I appreciated the way the album ebbed and flowed.

    There were times when it felt like she was there on the back porch, crooning to me and only me but then a not-so-distant siren would wail or a helicopter would fly over fairly and completely ruin the intimacy.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed our time together and look forward to another personal concert when time allows.