2002 debut album from the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter. The album's critical and commercial success was a breakthrough for Jones in 2002, as it reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart and several jazz charts. The album also topped many critics' "albums of the year" lists and gathered major music awards in the process, including eight Grammy Awards. Following initial sales, Come Away with Me was certified diamond by the RIAA on February 15, 2005 having shipped over 10 million copies in its first three years of release.
It is not just the timbre of Norah Jones's voice that is mature beyond her 22 years. Her assured phrasing and precise time are more often found in older singers as well. She is instantly recognizable, blending intimations of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone without sounding like anyone but herself. Anyway you slice it, she is a singer to be reckoned with. Her readings of the Hank Williams classic, "Cold Cold Heart" and Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You" alone are worth the price of the CD. Jones's own material, while not bad, pales a bit next to masterpieces such as these. They might have fared better had she and producer Arif Mardin opted for some livelier arrangements, taking better advantage of brilliant sidemen such as Bill Frisell, Kevin Breit, and Brian Blade; or if the tunes had simply been given less laconic performances. Jones has all the tools; what will come with experience, and some careful listening to artists like J.J. Cale and Shirley Horn, is the knack of remaining low-key without being sleepy--sometimes less is not, in fact, more. --Michael Ross