Norah Jones Come Away With Me

It's easy to be cynical when asked to rate another attractive hyped young female singer against the seemingly endless parade of others that record companies are pouring all their money into nowadays. But once past her freshly scrubbed appearance, one immediately recognises that Jones is everything that all the others aren't. For one, she works in an understated style that mixes jazz and country in a way that hasn't been done since Van Morrison in the mid-'70s. If that doesn't grab you, then Jones's smoky voice, containing just a hint of Billie Holiday's pathos, surely will. The restraint shown by her band in allowing Jones to bring out the seductive qualities of this voice makes for an irresistible overall end result. It's most apparent in her reading of Hank Williams' "Cold Cold Heart," but originals like "Feelin' The Same Way" and the title track are even better. Come Away With Me is hands down the best late night album of the year so far. (Blue Note)