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Norah Jones showcases musical chops and props with "…Featuring" compilation

I’ve spent the last two days listening to Norah Jones‘ upcoming CD, “…Featuring Norah Jones” – a nearly decade-in-the-making compilation of Norah’s collaborations with artists ranging from Ray Charles to the Foo Fighters.

Arriving in stores Nov. 16 and currently available for preorder, the 18-track “…Featuring” really is for anyone who loves music. I never considered myself a Norah Jones fan before giving this album a listen; often finding her previous work to be a bit slow-paced for me. But hearing her harmonize with Dave Groehl, Willie Nelson, Andre 3000 and a host of other artists ranging from country to hip-hop to Brit Pop, I have to say I have found a new respect for Norah and her ability to collaborate so beautifully and naturally with these artists.

Chances are, if you are a music fan there will be something on this album that you own somewhere in your music collection. The most familiar track to me was “Take Off Your Cool,” a smooth interlude from Outkast’s excellent 2003 double-album smash, “Speakerbox/The Love Below.” When surrounded by other Outkast songs, “Take Off Your Cool” provides a smooth transition between tracks; yet on this compilation, it also fits in perfectly with each track. There are no drastic transitions from one song or genre from the next, and it seems to have been the intention in the track order of this compilation.

“A lot of the people on this record are people I’ve worshiped since I was a kid, and some of them are younger and more my contemporaries,” Jones said. “Even though the musicians are so varied, the vibe of the songs makes sense when we put them all together.”

Another excellent track on the CD is Jones and Willie Nelson’s cover of the Frank Loesser-penned standard “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – a gorgeous, lounge-friendly and mellow tune that has piano, guitar and soft percussion to compliment any Charlie Brown Christmas song performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. This sweet and sexy Holiday standard is perfect for any winter party you hold this year.

The track listing for “…Featuring” is as follows:
1. Love Me – The Little Willies
2. Virginia Moon – The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
3. Turn Them – Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
4. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
5. Bull Rider – Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
6. Ruler Of My Heart – Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
7. The Best Part – El Madmo
8. Take Off Your Cool – OutKast featuring Norah Jones
9. Life Is Better – Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones
10. Soon The New Day – Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John – Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
12. Here We Go Again – Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
13. Loretta – Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
14. Dear John – Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
15. Creepin’ In – Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton”
16. Court & Spark – Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
17. More Than This – Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
18. Blue Bayou – Norah Jones featuring M. Ward

To pick out a favorite track from this is impossible; “Life is Better,” “Virginia Moon” and “More than This” immediately come to mind, but there are so many other tracks that are gorgeous. I will, however, name one disappointment in the album – the Belle & Sebastian track. I’m a fan of Belle and Sebastian, and I saw this tune as a drawback from what I typically find are quirky and creative songs by them. I almost want to get out “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” to remind me who Belle and Sebastian are as artists.

Still, that single track isn’t enough to spoil the entire compilation. It truly is a work for music lovers who can appreciate every genre and what it can offer to popular music as a whole.

Thanks to One2One Network for providing me with a copy of this CD to review. I am not compensated for my review, but I will be entered to win a gift card.

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