Norah Jones

Not Too Late (Blue Note)

Texas Platters

Norah Jones

Not Too Late (Blue Note)

One could point to Norah Jones writing and recording a song titled "Wake Me Up" on Not Too Late, her third album, and go for the easy cheap shot. Sure, the 27-year-old former Texan made her name by recording two discs that are easy to doze off to and, this time, at first blush, things haven't changed all that much. It's her first effort without legendary producer Arif Mardin, who passed away in 2006, and left to their own devices, Jones and producer/boyfriend/co-writer Lee Alexander have moved away from jazz-lite into more traditonal singer-songwriter territory. "Sinkin' Soon," with its pots-and-pans percussion, hints at Tom Waits, while the marimba and guitar effects on "Not My Friend" sound decidedly different for someone who's sold 30 million albums. Add a couple of overt political jabs, and Jones has concocted a pleasing effort underneath its delicate air.

***

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