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I DREAM OF CHRISTMAS, Nora Jones

Norah Jones first emerged on the world stage with the February 2002 release of Come Away With Me, her self-described “moody little record” that introduced a singular new voice and grew into a global phenomenon, sweeping the 2003 GRAMMY Awards. Since then, Jones has become a nine-time GRAMMY-winner. She has sold 50 million albums and her songs have been streamed six billion times worldwide. She has released a series of critically acclaimed and commercially successful solo albums—Feels Like Home (2004), Not Too Late (2007), The Fall (2009), Little Broken Hearts (2012), Day Breaks (2016), and Pick Me Up Off The Floor (2020)—as well as albums with her collective bands The Little Willies, El Madmo, and Puss N Boots featuring Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper who released their second LP Sister in 2020. The 2010 compilation …Featuring Norah Jones showcased her incredible versatility by collecting her collaborations with artists as diverse as Willie Nelson, Outkast, Herbie Hancock, and Foo Fighters. Since 2018 Jones has been releasing a series of singles including collaborations with artists and friends such as Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy, Thomas Bartlett, Tarriona Tank Ball, Rodrigo Amarante, and Brian Blade, some of which were compiled on the 2019 singles collection Begin Again.

Jones is the daughter of Indian sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar and concert producer Sue Jones, and is the half-sister of fellow musicians Anoushka Shankar and Shubhendra Shankar.

I DREAM OF CHRISTMAS, Nora Jones

Norah Jones has been a steady voice of warmth and reassurance for nearly 20 years since her cozy 2002 debut album Come Away With Me became a familiar musical companion for millions of people around the world. Now the 9-time GRAMMY-winning singer, songwriter, and pianist has made her first-ever holiday album with I Dream Of Christmas, a delightful and comforting collection of timeless seasonal favorites and affecting new originals that explore the complicated emotions of our times and our hopes that this holiday season will be full of joy and togetherness. I Dream Of Christmas will be released October 15 on Blue Note Records and can be pre-ordered now on vinyl, CD, and digital download.

“I’ve always loved Christmas music but never had the inclination to make a holiday album until now,” Norah says. “Last year I found myself listening to James Brown’s Funky Christmas and Elvis’s Christmas Album on Sunday’s during lockdown for a sense of comfort. In January 2021, I started thinking about making a Christmas album of my own. It gave me something fun to work on and look forward to.”

The album’s opening track, Norah’s original Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones) is available to stream or download today. Over chiming piano chords, Norah expresses a deep desire for holiday cheer and companionship. “I wanna hear the music play / I wanna dance and laugh and sway / I wanna happy holiday for Christmas.”

“When I was trying to figure out which direction to take, the original songs started popping in my head,” Norah explains. “They were all about trying to find the joys of Christmas, catching that spark, that feeling of love and inclusion that I was longing for during the rest of the year. Then there are all the classics that have that special nostalgia that can hit you no matter who or where you are in life. It was hard to narrow down, but I picked favorite classics that I knew I could make my own.”

Among the album’s many pleasures are Norah’s playful reinvention of The Chipmunk’s “Christmas Don’t Be Late” by David Seville (aka Ross Bagdasarian), which is given a languid beat and swaggering horns. Other highlights include sublime versions of “White Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Christmas Time Is Here.”

I Dream Of Christmas was produced by Leon Michels, and features an excellent cast of musicians including Brian Blade on drums, Tony Scherr and Nick Movshon on bass, Russ Pahl on pedal steel guitar, Marika Hughes on cello, Dave Guy on trumpet, Raymond Mason on trombone, and Michels on saxophone, flute, percussion, and more.

The track listing for I Dream Of Christmas is as follows: 

1.     Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones) (Norah Jones)

2.     Christmas Don’t Be Late (Ross Bagdasarian)

3.     Christmas Glow (Norah Jones)

4.     White Christmas (Irving Berlin)

5.     Christmastime (Norah Jones/Leon Michels)

6.     Blue Christmas (Billy Hayes/Jay W. Johnson)

7.     It’s Only Christmas Once A Year (Norah Jones)

8.     You’re Not Alone (Norah Jones/Leon Michels)

9.     Winter Wonderland (Richard B. Smith/Felix Bernard)

10.  A Holiday With You (Norah Jones)

11.  Run Rudolph Run (Johnny Marks/Marvin Brodie)

12.  Christmas Time Is Here (Lee Mendelson/Vince Guaraldi)

13.  What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? (Frank Loesser)

Episode #303

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