12/11/03

Diana Krall & Norah Jones: New CDs on Tap

Hot off the presses: Superstars Diana Krall (pictured) and Norah Jones are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their new albums. Both CDs will be released in the first half of next year: Jones' sophomore effort, which follows up her hugely successful Come Away With Me, is scheduled for release in February; Krall's CD is scheduled for April 27.

Here's the scoop:

While early reports have indicated Jones' sophomore effort would essentially be Come Away With Me II: Return of Norah, sporting a similar hushed approach to songwriting and the return of veteran producer Arif Mardin, Jones says the album will be a bit more uptempo and—gasp!—funky. (Hey, you never know; her recent summer tour did boast a cover of AC/DC's "Ride On.") One new song that may be in the running for the album is "Creepin' In," penned by Jones' bassist and boyfriend Lee Alexander.

While it appears the record will not feature any collaborations with songwriter Jesse Harris, the man behind the irrepressible "Don't Know Why," Jones has found some pretty good help elsewhere. Also on tap to guest on the record will be Levon Helm and Garth Hudson (both of the Band), and drummer Brian Blade. Dolly Parton will also make a guest vocal appearance.

Speaking of Dollyland, if you're having a hard time quenching your thirst for Jones from anticipation of her next album, she can be heard singing Parton's "The Grass Is Blue" on the Dolly tribute album Just Because I'm a Woman. You can also find Jones on the Patsy Cline tribute album Remembering Patsy, offering a sublime version of Cline's "Why Can't He Be You." And for the more adventurous fan, Jones makes a guest appearance on hip-hop duo OutKast's latest release, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, on "Take Off Your Cool," a gentle acoustic guitar duet with Andre 3000. Also, as reported here, you can hear her croon on the forthcoming release, Nublu Sessions, from her old friends Wax Poetic.

The eight-time Grammy award-winning Jones plans to kicks off a worldwide tour starting in April of next year with North American dates coming in July.

On the Diana Krall front, the pianist-vocalist has spent the better part of the past few months working on the follow-up to last year's certified platinum Live in Paris and her first full-length studio offering since 2001's The Look of Love. And while her fiancé Elvis Costello recently took a respectable stab at Krall-esque piano-vocal jazz on North, don't expect Krall's forthcoming album to be heavy on singer-songwriter new wave.

If Krall's recent show at Yoshi's in San Francisco was any indication, expect something slightly different this time around. Word has it she's been collaborating with some contemporary pop and blues songwriters. While the album is still untitled, and no track listing has been finalized, look for Christian McBride to once again offer his bass-playing talents.

For more information on Diana Krall, check out www.dianakrall.com or www.vervemusicgroup.com/artist.aspx?aid=2701/

For more information on Norah Jones visit www.norahjones.com.

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