The headliner for the last of three concerts at Romsdalsmuseet during The Molde International Jazz Festival this year was Norah Jones. 5000 people had waited in the cold, but still sunny sunny weather for the star. She played twenty two songs from her 10 year career, and everyone went home a little warmer.
Norah Jones started out with Come Away With Me in 2002. The album sold 22 million copies worldwide and catapulted Norah Jones to stardom. Four CDs later, Come Away With Me is still my favorite Norah Jones album, even if there are many good songs on her other four CDs, too.
On her latest CD, Little Broken Hearts, she has departed from her former style of a mix between more old time soft jazz, country and pop and gone modern. Danger Mouse has produced and co-written the songs on the CD, and she played eight of the twelve songs at the concert Friday night, together with fourteen of the best songs from her older CDs.
I saw her do the whole album at SXSW this year, and had some mixed thoughts about it. With artists like Norah Jones, you have expectations of the kind of sound you know, but when the songs are unknown and the arrangements and production are different from what you have heard before, it is always difficult to absorb it.
With some months to get used to her new sound, her new songs sounded more familiar when she did them live at Romsdalsmuseet. Personally I still prefer her older songs, but when she mixes old and new in a well balanced mix, it turned out to be a great concert. As a performer, Norah Jones is not the most extravagant. She doesn’t talk or move much, which means the songs are always the center of attention.
The concert was a success, and the audience was obviously very happy with it. I liked what I heard, but I am not so sure if big venues like Romsdalsmuseet is the best way to enjoy Norah Jones. I expect a bit more show at bigger venues, and she is not a show person. I have heard her once before at an outdoor venue, with her other band, The Little Willies, and I have heard her three times at smaller clubs. The first time was in 2002, her first showcase at SXSW, and to me Norah Jones is first and foremost a club artist with her intimate and soft spoken music. That is definitely the best way to enjoy her music.
All the pictures are © Per Ole Hagen, and may not be used without written authorization. You can see more pictures of Norah Jones, from SXSW in 2002 and 2012, plus some more from Romsdasmuseet at my picture site, Artist Pictures.