26 September 2023

I Dream Of Christmas

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Norah Jones, Universal Music 2021.

It’s been some time since I’ve heard anything from Norah Jones, so I was quite interested when this album turned up.

The first track was enough to convince me that this would be one of my Christmas albums this year.

Christmas Calling is one of the original tracks on the disc and Norah’s distinctive vocals were a delight to immerse myself in. “I want to be a Jolly Jones” she sings, and she is.

I Dream Of Christmas is lovely album that encapsulates all the joy of family and friendships associated with this magical time of the year while at the same time touching on some of the loneliness and sadness some people experience.

The album includes Norah’s take on some classics such as White Christmas, Winter Wonderland and Run Run Rudolph, interspersed with new songs or at least songs that I’ve never heard before.

One such song is Christmas Glow which is built around an unusual tinkling piano and vaguely Latin rhythm.

This tinny piano sound, a tone not dissimilar to that of a toy piano, remerges on other tracks such as It’s Only Christmas Once A Year.

She does a lovely bluesy take on Christmas Time. Norah has always been at home in the blues genre.

She follows that track with a delightful version of one of my favourite Chrissy songs Blue Christmas where her smoky seductive vocals shine.

I’ve always felt that Norah Jones possesses the perfect voice to do Billie Holiday.

Norah reaches out to those among us for whom Christmas doesn’t hold the joy of family gatherings in the great song You’re Not Alone.

Although it is a devoutly Christian song Norah somehow finds a way to play down the religious element in favour of basic care for our fellow human beings.

One of the strengths of this album is that it’s not over produced. The backing instrumentation is deliberately sparse.

With a voice like Norah’s you don’t want to bury it under layers of sound.

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