Norah Jones Picks Up The Tempo On New Single

norahjonesI talk a lot about wanting to see a Jazz Rock revival in the 21st century. I don’t mean that bombastic Blood Sweat & Tears/Chicago stuff from the Seventies, I’m thinking more along the lines of the Steely Dan/Frank Zappa axis, exploring the boundaries of Jazz sensibilities within a contemporary Rock context.

There are all kinds of artists moving in that direction, but it hasn’t coalesced into a movement yet. I mentioned the Jazz impulses within Radiohead and Wilco, and we’ve also got people like Ben Folds, Feist, Les Claypool, Andrew Bird – there are dozens of artists, really — who have spent careers nurturing their Jazz sides. Even Bowie was venturing deep into Jazz in his last days.

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In a Jazz Rock revival world, this new track would be a crossover hit. “Flipside” is the second single off Norah Jones upcoming album Day Breaks, and it was just released this week. I know “Snorah” Jones doesn’t have the best reputation in Rock circles, but despite her low-key offerings I believe she has bonafide Rock, Pop, and Jazz instincts, and she brings them all together on this number.

It’s a snappy little thing with a bit of a kick to it. She calls it a political protest song, but the politics are pretty gentle and unassuming: “I can’t stand when you tell me to get back! / If we’re all free then why does it seem we can’t just be?” The song’s got a driving bassline, some Jazz piano chords and a nice energy. I give it a couple of thumbs up.

Day Breaks will be released on October 7. Six of the nine tracks are originals, and one of the covers is of Neil Young’s “Don’t Be Denied”. You can bet that whenever Jazz Rock becomes a thing again, Norah Jones will be right there in the middle of the movement.

Photo credit: By Yaffa [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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