👍 Norah Jones’s Extraordinary At-Home Concerts

Liked Norah Jones’s Extraordinary At-Home Concerts (The New Yorker)

The live-at-home approach suits Jones ideally. It foregrounds her directness and natural musicianship, reminding us (as if we could have forgotten) that she is a truly great singer and a stylish pianist. It relieves her of the burden of filling the big spaces of summer jazz festivals and their outsized expectations for high volume, bold emotion, and between-song patter. It skirts the question of genre that has dogged her career: Is she a jazz singer? A twenty-first-century chanteuse? An old-soul millennial with the American songbook in her bones? Does it matter? It doesn’t. On the road, Jones has played “Bessie Smith,” by the Band, with a full band. Done at home, on upright piano, the song joins her to the most legendary homemade music of recent times—Bob Dylan and the Band’s “The Basement Tapes,” recorded in a house near Woodstock, in 1967—and winds her music back to the era before recordings, when music was made by people using voices and instruments to pass the time, express fugitive emotions, and give pleasure to others.

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