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The Peter Malick Group (featuring Norah Jones)

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    Norah seemed to have a spectacular ability to get inside a song and immerse herself in it…immediately

These were Peter Malick’s thoughts about the magic that happened during the recording of the title track to New York City: two takes, the second is what you hear on the record. Dang, I call that big ears.

The story goes this way…Malick had written some new material that needed a singer. He first heard Norah Jones at The Living Room on New York’s Lower East Side. The song was Dinah Washington’s “Since I Fell For You”…and that was all it took. In his own words:

    …I was struck breathless. Here, in the tradition of Billie Holiday, was a stunningly beautiful, blues infused voice

Now before anyone gets crazy about the Jones/Holiday comparison (sacrilege!!), remember that Norah herself would probably blush before thanking you shyly. As I said in my review of her Boston show, she turned out to be one of the most down to earth performers I’ve ever seen. A surprise considered her recent “instant” fame.

Some of the tunes on New York City do sound like they’d fit on Come Away With Me. The difference in sound being Malick’s smooth yet bluesy guitar lines (think Robert Cray by way of Mark Knopfler). “Deceptively Yours” could be their tribute to Bonnie Raitt. My favorite slow blues on the record is Sam Maghett’s “All Your Love”. It starts with a smokey riff right out of the atmosphere of Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train and does a long, sexy burn from there. But the fun really begins with the rocked-up blues duet “Things You Don’t Have To Do”…great to hear Norah trading lines with Malick, who sounds like a young Lou Reed here (with a firmer grasp on the key!)

I haven’t checked out any sales figures or anything but I would expect that fans of Come Away With Me would dig this stuff. You don’t see a whole lot of either artist longevity or fan loyalty these days. I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

Ok, I admit it….I’m hooked.

(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)

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About Mark Saleski

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    I know some purists might take umbrage with a comparison to Holiday, but I think it’s entirely warranted. I’m not a fan of Norah Jones (not being a fan of vocal jazz) but I do find she has one of the most naturally beautiful voices in the business, especially in a time when people are relying on software to bolster what little control they have.

    Seeing her perform live on a couple of shows convinced me she is truly one of the most talented singers around today – the ease with which she sings is stunning, but unfortunately probably isn’t even noticed by most of the people who write her off as simple pop-jazz pap. I just wish I could get into her music, because I’d love to have a reason to listen to her. It just, unfortunately, didn’t interest me much . . .

  • http://www.theamericanmind.com Sean Hackbarth

    I prefer Jones on this album to here “Come Away with Me.” It must be the blues/jazz flavor. It’s good, but too short (around 30 minutes).

  • Tanya Rivera

    This album is awesome! Definitely too short, looking forward to more of their collaboration. Being a fan of all types of music Salsa, Hip hop, techno… this is definitely my first taste of Jazz/Blues, I LOVE IT!
    Being a New Yorker living in Tampa I must admit the lyrics of the song “New York City” caught my attention. New york city such a beautiful disease…your damn right…..

    Tampa