Norah Jones, 'The Fall' (Blue Note)

Critical Mass
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by Mikael Wood

Thanks to the involvement of folks like Ryan Adams (who cowrote one song) and Kings of Leon producer Jacquire King, The Fall has been billed as Norah Jones' rock album. In fact, it's something even more surprising: a hot-blooded soul record from the queen of the even keel. In opener "Chasing Pirates," she rides a killer Wurlitzer lick by Roots/Erykah Badu sideman James Poyser, while "Back to Manhattan" describes Jones' breakup with boyfriend-bassist Lee Alexander over a slow-burn funk groove. Who knew ol' S'Norah had it in her?

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