'Sultry vocalist and pianist Norah Jones developed her unique blend of Jazz and traditional vocal pop with hints of bluesy country and contemporary folk due in large part to her unique upbringing.' www.barnesandnoble.com
Born 30th March 1979 in New York City, the daughter of Ravi Shankar grew up in Texas with her mother, Susan. At the age of four, Jones and her mother relocated to the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, Texas, where her already addictive interest in music became more refined, and homed distinctly towards a Jazz and Blues influence. Jones interest in music developed at a very early age through listening to her mother's extensive record collection, and from listening to 'oldies' on the local radio stations. By the age of five, Jones had began singing in her local church choir, and within another two years, had started taking piano lessons and was dabbling with playing the Alto Saxophone in her Junior High School.
"My mom had this eight-album Billie Holiday set. I picked out one disc that I liked and played that over and over again. 'You Go To My Head,' that was my favourite" www.vh1.com
By the age of fifteen, the Jones family had moved from Grapevine to Dallas' central city, where Norah enrolled in the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where she was able to more fully explore the musical passion she had found as a young child - Jazz.
Jones' first live performance occurred on her sixteenth birthday, at an open mic night in a local coffee house, where she performed her own version of Billie Holiday's 'I'll Be Seeing You', inspired by the style of Etta James unique vocal talent. This was only the start of Jones' successful career in music. In 1996, whilst still in High School, she was awarded two Down Beat Student Music Awards for 'Best Jazz Vocalist' and 'Best Original Composition', and just one year later, she was awarded another SMA, again for 'Best Jazz Vocalist'.
Although overjoyed at receiving these awards, Jones decided to put her vocal talents on hold while she studied for two years towards a degree in Jazz Piano at the University of North Texas - an institute nationally renowned for its music programs. Even though Jones enjoyed singing, she felt that studying piano was a more solid foundation for a career in music. After majoring in her chosen subject in 1999, Jones accepted a friends offer of a sub-let in Greenwich Village, Manhattan - and, even though she fully intended to go back to college later that year, never returned to North Texas. The lure of the area's Jazz Clubs and Folk-Coffee Houses proved to be too strong, and constant socialising with New York's songwriters eventually inspired Jones' to fully compose her own songs.
"The music kept me here. The music scene is so huge I found it very exciting. I especially enjoyed hearing amazing songwriters at little places like The Living Room. Everything opened up for me." www.vh1.com
For a year or so after her move to Manhattan, Jones appeared regularly with funk-fusion band Wax Poetic (who are now signed to Atlantic Records), and also with Lasizo, a '...Dark, Jazzy Rock Band'. Jones desperately wanted to form her own band, and in 2000 enlisted the talents of Jesse Harris (guitarist and songwriter), Lee Alexander (Bassist) and Dan Rieser (drummer). Shortly after the creation of the band, the line-up recorded a selection of demo songs for Blue Note Records, who, on the strength of these recordings and a convincing live showcase, signed Jones to the Jazz label in January 2001.
By May 2001, Jones had begun writing material for her debut album, 'Come Away With Me', and was conducting preliminary work with producer Craig Street at Bearsville Studio, Woodstock, New York. By August of the same year, Jones' and her band had returned to complete the work for the debut album with Arif Mardin at Sorcerer Sound in Manhattan. 'Come Away With Me' was released in February 2002, and gardened much public attention. Jones' had a lot to prove. She may well be the daughter of an internationally renowned musician, and many people believed that she was 'another riding the coattails of their musical royal heritage' - but the combination of her striking beauty, sultry vocals and her astounding skills as a pianist and songwriter soon convinced the sceptics that she was a musician in her own right.
'Come Away With Me blends elements of jazz, soul, country, and folk-pop in a warm, unselfconscious amalgam, and erases musical boundaries in the process. One could imagine fans of Sade, Charlie Rich, and Nick Drake all deriving equal enjoyment from this record.' www.bluenote.com
Come Away With Me
Wax Poetic - Wax Poetic (2000)
Charlie Hunter Quartet - Songs From The Analogue Playground (2001)
Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Medicated Magic (2002)