Come Away With Me
Review by Rick Jensen
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LP Stock Number:
Blue Note JP-5004 [Classic Records]
There is no need at this point to review Norah Jones' triumphant debut
album Come Away With Me. Coming seemingly from nowhere to dominate the Grammy awards, Jones has had ample exposure across the spectrum of popular music outlets.
However, the release of this fine album on a QUIEX SV-P 200-gram LP from Classic Records might well be a revelation for those who thought they had heard Jones sing - among which people I include myself.
There is a bit of debate among some avid music lovers as to just how good Jones is. I won't do justice to some of the very sincere and considered discussions I have seen (everyone does seem to like her and most of the usual nasty dismissals are notably absent from discussion groups), but will just say that some ask if she is just a very good and precocious stylist, or is there really some depth in her interpretations? I won't pretend to be qualified to settle that debate but will admit that since getting the CD in early 2002 (and liking it very much), I have wondered about just that myself. Jones' Billie Holiday-style phrasings are very attractive and great to listen to, but the CD, with a too-clean sheen in the sound and a generally slick production quality, gave the impression that maybe there was less behind it than meets the eye.
Well, as hinted at above, the LP is almost shocking in its superiority to the CD. I listened to it just after Jones' Grammy coronation and my first thought was "she won all those awards and only a handful of people (except for those who have seen her live) have ever heard her voice". I know I had not heard it until I played the LP.
Without going into great detail, everything about the recording is more present, more intimate, and more immanent. The LP delineates the border between Jones' voice and silence with delicacy and nuance, and it is there that one can hear what she appears to be trying to convey in each song. The instruments are captured with a relaxed and natural balance; in comparison, the CD seems to place the instruments behind a plastic film. The title track, quiet and unadorned, is perhaps the most dramatic showcase for Jones' vocals - there is just more of a real person behind the song, someone who really does long for the object of the song's affection. Elsewhere, for example, in "Turn Me On", the LP shows some grit in Jones' vocal that is lacking via the CD.
Again, at this point, most music lovers are familiar with this album, and know whether or not the music has appeal for them. However, for anyone who has the CD and likes it, or for anyone who has a turntable and has not yet bought the CD,
Come Away With Me on LP may provide a new and better experience of Ms. Jones.