Norah Jones Featuring… Norah Jones
Maybe it was the endless press releases that stated that she was the daughter of Ravi Shankur before they mentioned her own talents – or maybe she was always a maverick; either way – ever since Norah Jones nestled into the public consciousness with Come Away With Me, she’s refused to follow a stereotypical career path. While her ubiquitous 2002 debut had her pegged as a sultry, nu-jazz chanteuse, she’s spent the rest of the decade proving that there’s many more tricks to this pony.
Rejecting the notion that her velvety tones were restricted to the great American songbook, she lent herself as a veritable vocal-gun-for-hire. Featuring Norah Jones… handily collates her guest appearances and collaborations in one place. The sheer number of tracks on offer here, from a wide range of styles and genres, says much for Jones’ flexibility as a creative foil, as well as a vocalist. Each of its eighteen parts, showing distinct dimensions.
Highlights include bending the Foo Fighters’ FM rock into a laid-back, duet with Dave Grohl on Virginia Moon. So too, when she’s playing muse to the hip-hop firmament, namely Talib Kweli on Soon The New Day, Q-Tip on Life Is Better and best of all: toying with André 3000 on Take Off Your Cool.
Her attraction to country music, which blossomed with Jones’ own sophomore Feels Like Home, is catered for too. Including stints with Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and the jaunty Bull Rider with Sasha Dobson. For the rest, there’s touches of reggae (with Sean Bones on Turn Them On), soul (a duet with Ray Charles), plaintiff indie (Belle & Sebastian) and – of course – sultry nu-jazz (her intimate twist on Joni Mitchell’s Court And Spark with Herbie Hancock).
The quality of shoulders that Jones has rubbed just eight years into her career proves not only her artistic nous, but also a mutual respect for her innate talent from those she’s working with.
Something that this compilation showcases better than even her own solo discography (particularly the patchy Not Too Late from 2007). Short of starting a debate that argues that Featuring… could well be her best album, it certainly confirms her as a restlessly creative and important figure in the modern musical landscape. In short, there’s much more to her CV now than simply being the daughter of another famous musician.