Norah Jones did have a pirate song on her last cd, which I dutifully procured, not just to count how many Bay Area jazz stalwarts were still in her camp. So as I thought about this new cd, “little broken hearts” (2012, Blue Note) the pirate pun precipitated. The cover art evokes a cult film called Mudhoney (which is also a band).
I played about a minute of each track, during my 12 minute commute from apartment to girlfriend’s house, to feed the cocker (named Frida, you already know if you are TLPW456 and P.A.). Like most things these days, it reminds me of David Shields. Shields says plot is dead it’s all about voice. On “LBH”, it is all about trendy production styles from Danger Mouse and his buds. Also, Norah wrote all the songs, which is just as well. Reminds me of review of Alanis at Shoreline and daily music beat writer trotted out the line about she could sing the phone book and people would still like. Here they did the Richard Julian / Jessie Harris thing to Sasha Dobson, for reasonable results (Norah Jones without Norah per se) and now we have Norah’s name and voice (and writing — no Harris here) but none of her music. Eli Wolf is still there, as A & R; Eli Wolf who I met outside a Liberty Ellman hit, who I stopped — we both waiting for cabs — because he had a Ropeadope windbreaker on.
I feel qualified to comment knowingly on Norah Jones — and have indeed bought all the cds so far — even in snarky cryptic shorthand and ramblings because I was in the Charlie Hunter extended jazz family when all of us were among the first 5,000 people (out of the eventual 20 million) to feel her. And because I called on Liberty Ellman in his Brooklyn flat, where he had her gold record on his wall, unless that was in his office, I forget. (Oddly, someone told me recently that there was a rumor that Liberty and Norah are cousins; weird).
This is almost as weird segue but while we are on topic of discussing an artist by only mentioning her producer, it reminds me that when I saw Jenny Scheinman in Springfield, IL (BACKSTAGE, COLLEGE RADIO SHOW, 2009) she said go ahead and send her a white paper on producers for her upcoming; I was gonna run the gamut from Brian Eno to various pressings of Tucker Martine wanna-be’s. This was b.b. –before blog — so the thing never got past mental ruminations while water ran down the shower drain. Number 7 seems like a hit. Oh, sita; mis-spoke; Norah did not write all these her selfishly; Brian Burton co-wrote 12 tracks. Danger, danger, will rob in sun, not secretly.
Although you don’t see it here, I was noting on one of the late night shows that Norah was playing guitar not keys. Reminds me that when I was Henry Butler’s manager, and he was on the Billy Taylor show, his assistant told me that they fished for Norah to be on the same broadcast (who settled for: HB, Jason Moran, Freddie Cole and that guy whose name escapes me but plays with his mother, Bill Charlap, plus Andrew Hill – – WOW; Bettina Owens, the booker).
(and don’t get me wrong, namaste, I root for Norah Jones; BUY THE CD, Y’ALL; on pirate songs, I like the Norah but the highwater mark, not Jimmy Buffett, but Rupa Marya; and I forget how I was going to tie in, so here it is gratuitously — plasticly alto alotment — “Sita Sings the Blues” I recommend for collaborator. Wishful thin queen.
And when I mention only “track 7” I must be thinking (or, really, I’m a chubby Jap) about the old joke which search-Injuns here to a Phish forum:
A man is sent to prison for the first time. At night, the lights in the cell block are turned off, and his cellmate goes over to the bars and yells, “Number twelve!” The whole cell block breaks out laughing. A few minutes later, somebody else in the cell block yells, “Number four!” Again, the whole cell block breaks out laughing.
The new guy asks his cellmate what’s going on. “Well,” says the older prisoner, “we’ve all been in this here prison for so long, we all know the same jokes. So we just yell out the number instead of saying the whole joke.”
So the new guy walks up to the bars and yells, “Number six!” There was dead silence in the cell block. He asks the older prisoner, “What’s wrong? Why didn’t I get any laughs?”
“Well,” said the older man, “sometimes it’s not the joke, but how you tell it.” Or: plot is dead.
edit to add: I miss-spoke. It is track #9 that is the hit. It is slightly more uptempo, traditional structure, a road song, “far/car”; plus the whole Beatles thing.