Four years on from her emotional nadir, Norah Jones has returned with a collection of traditional jazz standards in the form of Day Breaks: an album that won’t surprise you, but will comfort you all the same.
Jones’s 2012 album, Little Broken Hearts, was her biggest departure in all her years on the music scene. Those with an open-mind found much to savour on that Danger Mouse-produced, Mudhoney-inspired fantasy of murder and revenge. It was distinctly different to early Norah Jones, so, unsurprisingly, not to everyone’s taste.
By contrast, Day Breaks is a return to the piano-led jazz of Come Away with Me that made Jones a star. It doesn’t take much to lose yourself to Jones’s charms: a double bass plunk here, a whisper of piano keys there, and the soft purr of her Texan drawl is really all it takes. The mood is smooth and sedate (‘Peace’), tuned for that return journey from work or evening wind-down (‘Sleeping Wild’). Pacier songs, meanwhile, ‘Flipside’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Time for Love’ – which bears some rhythmic similarity to Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’ – and the title track keep things from getting too one-note.
Day Breaks won’t be a surprise to you if you’ve listened to any of Jones’s early albums. It won’t win any awards for originality, but, for jazz and pop fans, it’s a thoroughly agreeable way to chill out.
Day Breaks is out now on Virgin EMI/Blue Note Records.
Have you listened to this album? If so, what did you think of it? Tweet me @aarnlee.
Image: Danny Clinch/Blue Note