September 2002

Norah Jones Ditches Jazz; Jazz Distraught, Seeks Help

Singer Norah Jones, whose Blue Note debut, Come Away With Me, has garnered both critical acclaim for her and prodigious sales for her label, announced that she would “break up with jazz” in order to pursue her artistic future.

“I’ve had some great times with jazz, really,” she said in an announcement on her Web site, www.norahjones.com. “But I feel like we’ve been drifting apart for the last few months. I want to see other genres and what they have to offer. It’s the best decision for my artistic development. But I still hope jazz and I can be just friends.

“Well, not just friends,” she added. “Close friends, of course. And I hope Blue Note will let me stay with them until I find another label.”

The drift away from jazz that Jones cited had been noted by many critics, who, in between rapturous praise of her sophisticated musicality and cherubic good-looks, pointed out that there was only one straight jazz interpretation on Come Away With Me, even though the album was issued by one of jazz’s most revered record labels. Still, even if it was not unexpected, the breakup hit many in the jazz community hard.

“We know Norah’s a very special girl, a beautiful and smart girl, and she’s got talent that could make her attractive to any number of musically rich genres, even ones with more commercial charisma than jazz,” said a shrouded-in-shadow Blue Note representative at a press conference called in the wake of Jones’ decision. “We’re not going to try to hold her back. Whatever success she has in the future, we’ll be happy. It’s just that jazz doesn’t meet a lot of women, particularly not young women, and certainly not as pretty as Norah…”

The representative then asked the throng of reporters if anyone knew of a jazz dating service. Neither one of them raised a hand.

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