Release Date: 02.26.02
Record label: blue note
Genre(s): Classical, Jazz
by: bill aicher
The recent proliferation of piano-playing pop musicians may be reason to give one pause at the thought of yet another beautiful young woman and her piano being all the talk. Fortunately, Jones is all these pop musicians aren't, and so much more. A jazz musician in the truest sense, her debut album Come Away With Me is a sweet breath of fresh air in a summer evening.
First the voice: Jones is by no means lacking in this department. Her sultry vocals have all the smoothness of the greats which hang with the smokiness of a club, late-night-style. Compliments aside, however, there are a few places one could argue for improvement. The biggest flaw (dependent upon your preference, of course) is the lack of "ooomph!" in places. Jones's laurels rest on her smoothness, and at times it seems she could have expressed a bit more strength. That's not to say her vocals are weak, they are in fact far from it. There's just a bit of monotony here, but it's hardly a downfall - just worth mentioning.
The majority of the album revolves around a kind of "country-fied" jazz style, most evident in her cover of the Hank Wiliams classic "Cold, Cold Heart" (which is far and away the highlight of the album). Songs are primarily structured around simple piano and guitar, with a healthy dose of brushed cymbals - simplicity at its most beautiful. At times you'll hear a bit of accordion or violin; simply understated yet doing their jobs perfectly.
Fans of smooth jazz music will no doubt be pleased by Jones. In fact, Come Away With Me is sure to please anyone ready to embrace some sweet, soulful music. She may falter at points, but they are few and far between - making this an absolutely astounding debut. And given she's only 22 years old, this is just the beginning - and that's truly something to look forward to. 20-May-2002 9:30 PM