- 16 Nov 23
The nine-time Grammy winner serenaded Dublin's 3 Olympia with her timeless fusion of jazz, soul, country and blues.
Swathed in red light, Norah Jones, decked out in blazer, black palazzo trousers with kung fu white stripe and Cuban heels, takes her seat at her impressive Yamaha grand piano which is draped in a chic throw, and purrs her opening number ‘My Heart Is Full’ – the groove of it is splendid, magically transforming the Olympia stage into a funky late night jazz club a la Blue Note. Her masterful three-piece band – Chris Morrissey on bass, Brian Blade on drums and Dan Lead on guitar, fan around her at a hypotenuse angle and you can’t take your eyes away from any of them for a second.
Blade’s percussive touch is a joy to watch, taming his drum kit with the gentlest of touches, man, it’s like watching Elvin Jones, yes Elvin Jones, he is that good and he appears to be the happiest dude in the room to boot. During her support slot tonight, Emily Elbert sung of Rumi’s notion of there being a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground and that comes to mind standing 25 feet from Norah Jones’ piano playing – oh boy it’s an absolute marvel, an ace Dave Brubeck/Floyd Cramer hybrid. ‘Something Is Calling You’, a Jessie Harris song, that was an outtake on her stratospheric debut album, Come Away with Me, is given a fine airing. Dan Lead’s wailing electric guitar and Chris Morrissey’s creeping bass turns ‘Flame Twin’ off recent album Pick Me Up Off The Floor into a great old blues fug of a yolk.
Hoots of recognition greet ‘Sunrise’, Jones’ piano, bathed in golden light, whispers a conversation with Blade’s drums, Lead’s slide, barely audible, like it is being played in the alley is wonderful. ‘Happy Pills’ a song from the album Little Broken Hearts, the one your man Danger Mouse produced, is given a country work-out, before Norah slings on her guitar and sings ‘Don’t Know What It Means’, a Puss n Boots – the alternative country band that Jones fronts along with Sarah Dobson and Catherine Popper – cut. Switching to her Fender Jaguar, Jones delivers ‘Waiting’ and a zealous fan shouts out ‘Go on, Norah!’ in frenzied encouragement to the delight of Norah and the entire audience. ‘All a Dream’ is marvellous – a Duane Eddy style riff morphing into a superb David Gilmour calibre solo.
‘Don’t Know Why’, the debut single off THAT debut album is a song that is known by pretty much anybody whoever flicked on daytime radio, but it is the breakdown of it tonight that is the marvel, indeed, you could listen to this band just jam ‘Say No More’ all night and be more than content. Ditto for their play of ‘Nightingale’.
Before selling 50 million records and winning 9 Grammy’s, ‘Come Away With Me’ was the first song that Norah wrote when she first arrived in New York and no better song to finish this terrific set of jazz, soul, country and blues. Incredible stuff.