At 31, Norah Jones is no-questions-asked sublime. Ten Grammys (and seven nominations) make her a formidable presence commercially. Also critically – even that curmudgeon Robert Christgau acquiesced: “What’s not to like?” Her versatility makes her a coveted collaborator to artists, genre no bar. And so, as we listened to album after album that Jones has served up since her not-quite-jazz-but-getting-there-in-a-hurry début Come Away With Me, which swept eight Grammys in 2003, we may have overlooked her off-road excursions. …Featuring fixes that jig-saw bit back in place.
Crime writer Anthony Bruno, chronicling Sinatra’s links with the mob, writes of how the crooner found a godfather in New Jersey gangster Willie Moretti after his stint with the quartet Hoboken Four ended. Impressed with Sinatra’s talent, he gave him a break to sing at his casinos. Sinatra, Bruno writes, could “talk” the lyric as if he was speaking directly to his listeners, and this made him a heartthrob of the teenage female fans known as “bobbysoxers”. Sinatra was still making hits with James when he got his next big break in 1940 with the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing”, trombonist and bandleader Tommy Dorsey. Formerly of the Dorsey Brothers, the temperamental perfectionist had sacked brother Jimmy and renamed his band to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Dorsey, aware that his band did not have a classical jazz sound, invited Sinatra to infuse the missing element of swing.
Despite the years, the pain and the pleasure, Helen Folasade Adu’s voice seems not to have aged at all. In love’s timeless temple, she remains the high priestess. We know her band, and herself, better as Sade. And Soldier of Love is their first album in ten years