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Norah Jones and the Music She Loves

It took Norah Jones precisely one year to become a household name. Her debut album, “Come Away With Me,” was released in February 2002, and by the following February it had sold four million copies and she had won five Grammys.

A side project she created the following year is less well known. As a diversion from the pressures of following up one of the best-selling debuts of all time, Ms. Jones and four friends formed the band the Little Willies (named after her childhood hero, Willie Nelson) and began playing her favorite country songs at a series of unannounced gigs at the Living Room, a tiny music venue in New York.

“I think I had to leave home for me to know how much country music meant to me,” said Ms. Jones, who moved to New York in 1999 after studying jazz composition and performance in high school and college in Texas. “I listened to Hank Williams, Dolly Parton and Willie growing up, but I wanted to play jazz. When I listened to Bill Evans, I transcribed the chords. When I listened to ‘Red Headed Stranger,’ I just listened to enjoy it. But it really seeped in more than I could have known.”

Almost six years after the Little Willies released its self-titled 2006 debut, the band — which features Lee Alexander on bass, Jim Campilongo and Richard Julian on guitar and Dan Rieser on drums — is finally unveiling its sophomore set, “For the Good Times.” The album, which will be released on Jan. 10, includes covers of songs by Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.

In the final days of December, we put Ms. Jones on the spot and asked her to create an on-the-fly five-song playlist of her favorite Texas songwriters — artists she’s been inspired by, performed alongside or covered with the Little Willies.

WILLIE NELSON, “PERMANENTLY LONELY” “He’s my No. 1,” said Ms. Jones, who has earned Grammy nominations for three of her duets with the country legend — “Wurlitzer Prize (I Don’t Want to Get Over You),” “Dreams Come True” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The Little Willies’ version of Mr. Nelson’s “Permanently Lonely” is on the upcoming album.

“Willie’s songs are deceptively complicated,” Ms. Jones said. “He’s like a twisted jazz musician under all that country. He writes these chords that are just beautiful — the way they come together so simply, yet they go against normal forms that you learn as a musician. But he makes them sound so beautiful and simple. You don’t try to that, you just do. And that’s what’s great about Willie: he just does.”

TOWNES VAN ZANDT, “NO PLACE TO FALL” A song considered by many to be one of the late great Texas songwriter’s signatures, the Little Willies included it on its 2006 debut.

“I tend to listen to Townes when I’m feeling melancholy,” Ms. Jones said. “And this is one of Townes’s most beautiful songs. For the Little Willies, it was one of the easiest and most natural things we’ve recorded. That’s the best kind of situation, when the song kind of plays itself. For that to happen, it has to be a pretty incredible song.”

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, “BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS” Mr. Kristofferson recorded “Best of All Possible Worlds” in 1970 for his debut album “Kristofferson,” and 36 years later, the Little Willies laid down the same track on its debut release. (The title track of the band’s new album, “For the Good Times,” is also one of Mr. Kristofferson’s songs.)

“Best of All Possible Worlds” is “so much fun because it stacks up a lot of words and a lot of clever lines; it’s so well crafted, but also so soulful,” Ms. Jones said. “That’s the trick to songwriting — you want craft, but you also need soul and honesty. And who’s as inherently soulful as Kris Kristofferson? Look at ‘For the Good Times.’ It’s one of the most heartbreaking, beautiful lyrics ever. If he only wrote those two songs, he’d be on the list. But obviously, he’s given us so much more.”

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE, “IF YOU WANT ME TO STAY” “I’ve always loved the fact that Sly Stone was born in Denton,” said Ms. Jones, who went to college in Denton at the University of North Texas. She has yet to record a Sly Stone song.

“He’s just one of those people,” she said. “You put on a Sly Stone record and it changes your mood. It feels so good. I might be crazy, but I also feel like I can hear the Texas in his singing. I feel like you can hear the country in the back of his voice and the pronunciations, the way he splits syllables.”

CINDY WALKER, “YOU DON’T KNOW ME” Ms. Walker, a country songwriter, had Top 10 hits in every decade from the 1940s to the ’80s, and big-name musicians from Ray Charles and Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley and Mr. Nelson performed her songs.

“I didn’t know much about her until Willie did that ‘Songs of Cindy Walker’ album and I realized I knew half of those songs. I grew up on them,” Ms. Jones said. “ ‘You Don’t Know Me’ is so fantastic because it strikes the perfect balance of simplicity, directness and heart.”

Fourplay: Let's Touch the Sky (2010)

For Fourplay, it's all a numbers game. 2011 marks the band's 20th anniversary, Let's Touch the Sky is their 12th album, and "new guy," Chuck Loeb is both Fourplay's third personnel change and third guitarist replacing Larry Carlton, who stepped in for Lee Ritenour in 1998.

Personnel changes in long-established bands happen when a disgruntled member bolts over the dreaded "creative differences" or out of necessity, as when Carlton decided to return to his solo career. When it was Carlton's turn as the new guy on 4 (Warner Bros., 1998), there was a consistency in sound between his playing and Ritenour's. It wasn't until 2002's Heartfelt (Bluebird) that Carlton seemed to truly settle in as an equal partner with keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason.

Loeb has the advantage of appearing on several of James' solo albums, and that familiarity serves him well, as his guitar is featured early on his own "3rd Degree." Loeb's style meshes well with the signature Fourplay radio friendly tunes, but his playing is noticeably funkier than Carlton, and his familiarity with James would seem to indicate his period of adjustment into this supergroup will be a relatively quick one.

The introduction of new blood surprises on Let's Touch the Sky, with "Golden Faders" being seven minutes worth of swinging and sizzling, as if the band was just enjoying jamming too much to stop. James dedicates "Gentle Giant" to the great Hank Jones, who passed away in May, 2010, and is driven by James, with an unexpected assist from East on acoustic bass.

More familiar are the East vocal showcase, "I'll Still Be Lovin' You," while a subtle contribution from Anita Baker makes "You're My Thrill" gently sparkle like sunlight on water. Usually it's just asking for trouble to even try to cover an R&B classic like "Love TKO," that weaker singers than Teddy Pendergrass fear to even attempt; but American Idol winner Ruben Studdard's version honors the original while updating it. It's one of the bold and unexpected surprises of Let's Touch the Sky.

Changes in personnel can be leading indicators of a band reaching the end of the line. Not this time. If anything James, Mason and East seem invigorated by their new playmate. Loeb is a perfect fit, and with his addition to the group as both a composer and player, Fourplay is well situated to continue on both artistically and commercially as a force with which to be reckoned.

Track Listing: Let's Touch the Sky; 3rd Degree; More Than A Dream; Pineapple Getaway; I'll Still Be Lovin' You; Gentle Giant (for Hank); A Night in Rio; Love TKO; Above and Beyond; Golden Faders; You're My Thrill.

Personnel: Bob James: keyboards; Nathan East: bass and vocals; Chuck Loeb: guitars; Harvey Mason: drums and percussion; Ruben Studdard: vocals (8); Anita Baker: vocals (11).

Java Jazz Festival 2012: Some Tid-Bits from the Fest

Java Jazz Festival 2012 has been passed, yet many of us should still experience the jazz-lag after receiving the blows from stage to stage. Aside from enjoying jazz being served by around 2000 musicians from all over the world, it’s also interesting to see what’s happening outside during the festival.

It’s clear that Java Jazz Festival has become an important part of the lifestyle. Speaking of fashion, many people tried to dress up jazzy for this occasion as we found vests, blazers and of course the Sinatra’s fedora hats everywhere, other than the casual dress like t-shirts and jeans. Looking at the number of attendance, we can have a solid proof that jazz is actually not that difficult to digest. All ages from small babies to seniors packed in to catch their favorite artists, or even just to absorb the sense of jazz. For us, all these showgoers brought a different kind of excitment to see in a festival as big as this. It’s normal to see puzzled face when they were trying to find the stage or people running in full speed because they didn’t want to miss the selected show. There were many funny things, cool moments or unique situations all around the venue that we didn’t want to miss, not to mention the lovely blue sunset sky which appeared above the venue for the whole three days.

Salute to our photographers, they still managed to snap some shots in between their duty to take stage photos and squeezing through crowds. So now we want to share their off stage during the foremost music bash on earth. (Please click each thumbnail at the end of this article to see the photos).

There were many sweet couples seemed to drown their romance into Java Jazz by hugging each other while enjoying the show. Java Jazz Festival has also become the meeting point for artists around the world, including those who came from the same country said hi to one another. Fans took the chance to take pictures with the artists if they were lucky enough, while others had such a good time with their family and friends inside.

What Java Jazz Festival brings to us is not just a simple jazz event. Yes it’s gigantic, with thousands of artists and hundreds of show for total 3 days, but more than just that, we could also see the kind of jazz lifestyle under one roof living peacefully and harmoniously. We just remember a song from Level 42 titled “Love in a Peaceful World”, and we experience the essence in this festival. How lovely to have it through jazz. Not only jazz can entertain us to the max, but it can also carry the message of peace. Thank you Java Jazz! We’ll see you again next year.

Jamie Cullum to Perform Two Sets at CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival

NEWPORT, RI -- British singing and piano sensation Jamie Cullum brings his eclectic mix of jazz, pop and rock-influenced music to the opening night celebration of the CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival* on Friday, August 6, at 8:00 pm at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport Casino. The evening opens with the saxophonist/singer Grace Kelly.

The festival continues August 7 and 8 at Fort Adams State Park; Cullum is set to perform on the Fort Stage on Saturday. Tickets and more information are available at

Get a sneak preview of Jamie Cullum in performance when he appears on The Bachelorette on Monday, May 31, at 8:00pm on ABC. For more information, visit Jamie Cullum, who has played guitar and piano since age eight, developed an avid interest in jazz from his older brother. He was inspired by piano icons Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck and spent some of his formative years living in Paris, where he honed his abilities performing in jazz clubs. Cullum will perform selections from The Pursuit, his first album in four years, as well as some of his favorite jazz standards and his own originals. His latest music embraces the full range of his diverse talents and far-flung musical passions. While it covers more stylistic ground than anything he's done previously, the album offers the same musical fluency, emotional commitment and lyrical wit that helped to make Cullum's prior releases Twentysomething and Catching Tales international crossover hits selling more than four million combined copies worldwide. He recorded his first album, Heard It All Before, at age 19, followed by Pointless Nostalgic.

After spending two years touring in support of Catching Tales, Cullum retreated from the spotlight and spent much of the next two years working on a variety of musical and non-musical endeavors. He and his older brother and frequent collaborator, Ben, joined forces for a dance music project, “BC vs. JC," that found the brothers creating melodic dance music in clubs across England. Jamie also contributed to albums for Pharrell Williams, the Count Basie Orchestra, Japan's Soil & Pimp Sessions, Norway's Beady Belle and France's Camille, as well as spent time as a Goodwill Ambassador to Ethiopia for UNICEF. Cullum's highest profile side projects saluted his courtship with Hollywood, beginning with the animated Disney feature Meet The Robinsons, in which Jamie was the singing voice of Frankie The Frog. He followed with his vocal on the Golden Globe-nominated “Best Original Song" from the John Cusack film Grace Is Gone, and culminated in his co-writing and performing with Clint Eastwood for the Golden Globe-nominated “Best Original Song" from 2008's Gran Torino. Now, he's back on the road celebrating The Pursuit at concert across Europe and the United States.

Eighteen-year-old Grace Kelly's career is definitely on the fast track. Wynton Marsalis (who performs on the Fort Adams Stage on Sunday) was so impressed with her three-night stand as guest of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in November 2008 that he invited her to join the ensemble at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Harry Connick, Jr. heard her in a master class and invited her to sit in with his band and she has been a featured guest on NPR's Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland. In addition, Grace has received numerous honors including The Boston Music Awards' “Outstanding Jazz Act," WCVB-TV's “Five Bostonians to Watch," Downbeat Critics Poll's youngest ever “Alto Saxophone Rising Stars," the Boston Phoenix's “Best Jazz Act in Boston" in the 2009 Best Music Poll (for the second consecutive year) and three ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award. To this astonishing list of credits, Kelly adds Mood Changes, the fifth release on her PAZZ label. The album mixes six standards with four Kelly originals. She is particularly excited about the strides that Mood Changes reveals in her band leading skills. “There's nothing like playing my own music with my own band," she acknowledges. She also enjoyed critically acclaimed success on her previous album, Gracefulee, which has dominated the DownBeat Student Awards over the past four years. A student at Boston's Berklee College of Music, Grace enjoys “... playing all the time and just living music all day." Her College is also represented at the festival by the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Septet on Saturday afternoon.

George Wein made history 56 years ago when he started the festival era with the Newport Jazz Festival. Along with his company, New Festival Productions, LLC, Wein continues to present the best in established and rising stars, this year including Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea Freedom Band with Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride & Roy Haynes, Ahmad Jamal, Wynton Marsalis, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Chris Botti, Jason Moran's Bandwagon, Jon Faddis Quartet, Gretchen Parlato, Fly, Julian Lage Group, JD Allen Trio, David Binney Third Occasion Quartet, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society and many more.

The 13th Cape Town Jazz Festival

Andre Petersen Quintet (SA) will be launching their debut album at the Rosies Stage. The Bassline Stage will present hip-hop band Atmosphere (USA), as well as South African born female MC Jean Grae (USA), Cape Town electronic duo Goodluck (SA), South African songbird Zamajobe (SA) and local rising soul star Zahara (SA).

Multi Grammy Award winner Ms. Lauryn Hill has been confirmed to perform at this year's Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Her performance will take place on Saturday 31 March 2012 at the famous Kippies stage. Hill established her reputation as a member of the sensational Fugees. In 1998 she launched her solo career with the release of the commercially successful and critically acclaimed album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The recording earned Hill 5 Grammy Awards including Album of the Year and Best New Artist.

Outline, a new release by The Jason Reolon Trio (SA), Alfredo Rodriguez (Cuba), Grammy award winning tenor saxophonist David Sanchez (Puerto Rico) and Lionel Loueke (Benin) is highlight. Afro jazz sounds will be present with The Moreira Project (Mozambique).

Additionally there will be a series of workshops taking place at various venues throughout the CBD and greater Cape Town area over an 8 day period. component explores various elements of the jazz world and includes Arts Journalism, Music Workshops, Music Business, Master Classes as well as many other workshops. The Duotone Photographic Exhibition will document the emergence and growth of jazz.

The Community Concert (free to all) will take place on Wednesday 28th March 2012 on Green Market Square, showcasing some of the international and local acts scheduled to perform at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Ticket prices are R400 for a single day pass. A two-day weekend pass is R550. There will be an extra fee of R30 per act for patrons wishing to attend concerts on the Rosies stage. Tickets are available at Computicket and Shoprite-Checkers stores.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2012 sponsors are the Department of Arts and Culture, the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, The City of Cape Town, Oude Meerste, Hansa Pilsner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Cape Town Partnership, and the Western Cape Education Department. Official broadcast by Mzansi Magic.

Cape Town City supports this festival to promote the heritage of jazz

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Norman Brown - Celebration (1999)

Track list :
  1. Out'a Nowhere 4:52
  2. Together At Last 5:05
  3. Paradise 4:26
  4. You Make Me Feel Brand New 5:45
  5. Celebration 4:23
  6. Getting By 4:54
  7. Rain 4:14
  8. Never Again 4:39
  9. Breaking Out 5:21
  10. It's Time For Love 4:37
  11. Stay Strong 4:42
  12. Rain (Remix)
Brown is an urban jazz guitarist/vocalist with a sound similar to George Benson's. You've heard his music on the Weather Channel. (Is that a compliment or an insult?) He's got a good tone and he's a pretty good writer, so that puts him ahead of many artists in the field. One thing I've noticed that distinguishes him from most guitarists is that, when he solos, he uses the full range of the instrument, not just the upper register.

Tracks: For smooth background music, all the tracks serve their purpose well. There's a unnecessary cover of The Stylistic's You Make Me Feel Brand New which adds nothing to the soulful original. The beautiful ballad Rain is almost ruined by the unusual, distracting electronic percussion track. Still, there aren't any tracks that I want to skip. In fact, I'm usually pleased when a Norman Brown cut comes up during an iTunes shuffle on the work computer.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I bought this used at the Hastings in Nac not long after moving. It most likely provided background music while I finished up my dissertation in '06.

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Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales (1993)

Track listing :

All songs written by Sting except where noted.

1. "Prologue (If I Ever Lose My Faith in You)" – 4:30
2. "Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)" – 5:11
3. "Fields of Gold" – 3:42
4. "Heavy Cloud No Rain" – 3:39
5. "She's Too Good for Me" – 2:30
6. "Seven Days" – 4:40
7. "Saint Augustine in Hell" – 5:05
8. "It's Probably Me" (Sting, Eric Clapton, Michael Kamen) – 4:57
9. "Everybody Laughed But You" – 3:53 (Excluded from original Canada/US releases)
10. "Shape of My Heart" (Sting, Dominic Miller) – 4:38
11. "Something the Boy Said" – 5:13
12. "Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)" – 3:39

French Bonus disc - five live recordings

1. "All This Time"
2. "Roxanne"
3. "The Soul Cages"
4. "Walking On The Moon"
5. "Fortress Around Your Heart"

Ten Summoner's Tales is the fourth solo studio album by the rock musician Sting. The title is a combined pun of his given name, Gordon Sumner, and a character in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the summoner. Released in 1993, it explores themes of love and morality in a noticeably upbeat mood compared to his previous release, the introspective The Soul Cages.

This album contained two U.S. hits; "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and "Fields of Gold" reached #23.

Ten Summoner's Tales was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 1993. In 1994, it was nominated for five Grammy awards, winning Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance ("If I Ever Lose My Faith in You") and Best Long Form Music Video. It did not win Album of the Year or Record of The Year.

A long form video featuring alternate musical performances and live versions of all tracks was filmed at Lake House and released in conjunction with the album. The video went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Video in 1994 and was directed by Doug Nichol and produced by Julie Fong.

The 1998 re-release CD includes a bonus video track of "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You". It also features the song "Everybody Laughed But You", which was excluded from the original 1993 release in the US and Canada. The song did appear on the original release in the UK, Europe, Japan and other territories, and the "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" single. The instrumental track for "Everybody Laughed But You" was also used with an alternate lyric and released as "January Stars" on the "Seven Days" and "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" singles.

The cover of the album was photographed at Wardour Old Castle in Wiltshire, England, featuring Hrímnir, an Icelandic horse Sting owned for a period. The album was recorded at Lake House, Wiltshire, mixed at The Townhouse Studio, London and mastered at Masterdisk, New York.

A different version of "It's Probably Me", featuring Eric Clapton, was featured in the opening titles of Lethal Weapon 3. This version is available as a single. In 1994, "Shape of My Heart" was featured in the end credits of Léon, replacing Eric Serra's The Experience of Love (a track that Serra eventually used in his 1995 soundtrack for the James Bond film GoldenEye).

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Jamie Cullum - Pointless Nostalgic

Track list :
  1. "You and the Night and the Music" (Howard Dietz, Arthur Schwartz) – 4:09
  2. "I Can't Get Started" (Vernon Duke, Ira Gershwin) – 5:15
  3. "Devil May Care" (Johnny Burke, Harry Warren) – 3:24
  4. "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You" (James Cavanaugh, Russ Morgan, Larry Stock) – 3:43
  5. "Pointless Nostalgic" (Jamie Cullum, Ben Cullum) – 4:03
  6. "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" (Bob Hilliard, David Mann) – 6:28
  7. "Well, You Needn't" (Thelonious Monk) – 3:21
  8. "It Ain't Necessarily So" (George Gershwin, I. Gershwin) – 4:31
  9. "High and Dry" (Greenwood, Greenwood, O'Brian, Selway, Yorke) – 4:54
  10. "Too Close For Comfort" (Jerry Bock, Larry Holofcener, George David Weiss) – 3:25
  11. "A Time for Love" (Johnny Mandel, Paul Francis Webster) – 5:06
  12. "Lookin' Good" (Dave Frishberg) – 3:10
  13. "I Want to Be a Popstar" (Jamie Cullum) – 4:02
With a few hard-to-find releases under his belt, Pointless Nostalgic marks the more widespread debut of piano-pounding British crooner Jamie Cullum. Barely in his twenties, Cullum has a wise old rasp that usually takes decades of chain-smoking to acquire. Cullum's move to mix jazz standards, American songbook classics, and contemporary popular music was a risky one that could easily isolate fans of each genre. However, Cullum managed to find a unifying thread in all of the styles, tying them together in a manner that seemed like the natural culmination of a diverse record collection.

Jazz plays heaviest in the mix, but Cullum's version of it is lively and roguish. A rock & roll spirit among erstwhile snobs, he brings blue jeans to the beret set. The only real downfall of the album is that the music is often outmatched by Cullum's pipes to the point of distraction. The blaring horns are too often off-key and grating, detracting from an otherwise well-performed album. Highlights come courtesy of Cullum's diverse and well-chosen array of cover songs. While so many Harry Connick, Jr. wannabes stick to the standards and limply mimic moves lifted from Frank Sinatra's catalog, Cullum hops from Radiohead to Thelonious Monk with equal verve and accomplishment.

Closing number "I Want to Be a Popstar" is a playful rumination on the advantages of being a pop star rather than a jazz key pounder. The mischievous romp exemplifies the lighthearted approach that has become Cullum's calling card, endearing him to jazzophiles and screaming young girls alike. Cullum's popularity subsequently skyrocketed with 2004's Twentysomething, which exhibited a fuller grasp of his vocal strength and featured a strong backing band to match.

On that album, his increasingly scratchy croon wrings every sultry note out of Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should Have Come Over," and he puts a sly dance club spin on "I Could Have Danced All Night." Even with the expert selection of covers, however, it's his own cheeky nod to the restlessness of youth, "Twentysomething," that steals the show. 

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Sade Adu - Lovers Rock 2000 (Album)

Track listing

All songs written by Sade Adu, Andrew Hale, Stuart Matthewman and Paul S. Denman, except where noted.

1. "By Your Side" – 4:34
2. "Flow" – 4:34
3. "King of Sorrow" – 4:53
4. "Somebody Already Broke My Heart" – 5:01
5. "All About Our Love" – 2:40
6. "Slave Song" – 4:12
7. "The Sweetest Gift" – 2:18
8. "Every Word" – 4:04
9. "Immigrant" (Adu, Janusz Podrazik) – 3:48
10. "Lovers Rock" – 4:13
11. "It's Only Love That Gets You Through" (Adu, Podrazik) – 3:53

Target limited edition bonus disc

1. "The Sweetest Taboo" (Live)
2. "Smooth Operator" (Live)
3. "Nothing Can Come Between Us" (Live)
4. "No Ordinary Love" (Live)

Lovers Rock is the fifth studio album (sixth overall) by English band Sade, released on 14 November 2000 by Epic Records. The album reached number 18 on the UK Albums Chart and number three on the U.S. Billboard 200. It has since been certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America,[6] having sold 3.9 million copies in the United States. On 27 February 2002, the album earned Sade the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.

According to the booklet, the track "The Sweetest Gift" is dedicated to the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity caring for children who have a life-threatening or terminal illness and their families, both in their own homes and at the Trust's two UK family respite centres.

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Norah Jones - Come Away With Me

Track Listing

1. Don’t Know Why
2. Seven Years
3. Cold Cold Heart
4. Feelin’ The Same Way
5. Come Away With Me
6. Shoot The Moon
7. Turn Me On
8. Lonestar
9. I’ve Got To See You Again
10. Painter Song
11. One Flight Down
12. Nightingale
13. The Long Day Is Over
14. The Nearness Of You

Album Highlights

”Don’t Know Why” showcases Jones’ range and depth as a singer. She’s definitely got the jazz ingénue thing down to a science and her voice sounds years more mature and polished than 23. “Don’t Know Why” is mellow and seductive without being overtly sexual which is a theme that pretty much runs through the whole album.

”Seven Years” and ”Cold Cold Heart” have more of a bluesy feel than a jazzy feel. The latter is a Hank Williams remake that I think stretches a little bit, but I really like the music on both tracks. ”Feelin’ The Same Way” picks up the pace a bit

”Come Away With Me” reminds me of a lullaby. Sweet, endearing and child-like – it just sounds sweet. It should be said that Norah Jones isn’t some flash in the pan pretty girl with no talent. Not only does she play the piano but she writes also. “Come Away With Me”, “Nightingale”, and “The Long Day Is Over”* were written by Norah and are some of the stronger cuts. (* = co-writer credit).

”Turn Me On” reminds me of country singer Shelby Lynne for some reason. If you listen to Jones’ inflection and pronunciation you might think she grew up in Kentucky or somewhere in the deep south (she was born in New York and transplanted to Texas). She has a voice that’s thick as honey and sweet too. Although I’ve noted “Turn Me On” as an album highlight, I think some of the problems with the tracks are that they seem to end a little abruptly or be incomplete – but my hunch is that was done to leave you wanting more.

”I’ve Got To See You Again” is one of those songs that you wish there were more of. It’s a bit dark and mysterious but so beautiful. Also at 4:18 it is the longest track on the album and to me seems to be the most polished and stands as my favorite. ”The Nearness Of You” reminds me of a Saturday morning. Just the relaxed, lying in bed, laziness of it all – and this one is evocative of old school jazz legends like Billie Holiday and Etta James.

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Norah Jones: "The Fall" (album review)

Track listing for The Fall :
  1. Chasing Pirates
  2. Even Though
  3. Light As a Feather
  4. Young Blood
  5. I Wouldn't Need You
  6. Waiting
  7. It's Gonna Be
  8. You've Ruined Me
  9. Back To Manhattan
  10. Stuck
  11. December
  12. Tell Yer Mama
  13. Man of the Hour
Even if you haven't loved Norah Jones' jazzy pop music up until now you definitely have to respect her for pushing her own musical boundaries. That's exactly the impression one gets when one first reads the list of contributors enlisted for her forthcoming album The Fall (out November 17th).

Among the heavyweight rock talent performing are guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits), the legendary Smokey Hormel (Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash), and many more. A pair of co-writers from the indie world were brought in for a couple of songs in the form of alt-country star Ryan Adams and Okkervil River's Will Sheff.

Jones eases into the change with "Chasing Pirates", a charming mellow soul number. Quickly thereafter though, we do get some hints of exploration. Hints of reverb and dissonance can be heard clearly on "Even Though". Sounding mostly like a typical Jones number "I Wouldn't Need You" sees her traditional piano replaced with Ribot's aching country-tinged guitar to great affect. The influences are also clear on "It's Gonna Be", a tracks that begs comparisons to Tom Waits' loungey "Ice Cream Man".

However, as the album goes on it becomes clear that Jones really hasn't ventured too far from her roots. Jazz and pop are still the solid foundation of her music. Songs like "You Ruined Me", "December", and the playful "Man of the Hour" are vintage Jones. The incredibly dull "Back To Manhattan" is also a jazz-based ditty.

The songwriter contributions of Adams and Sheff are also disappointing. "Light As a Feather" sounds like any one of a hundred plodding half-thought out tunes Adams probably has laying around his living room. Sheff's contribution is better, but it translates as little more than a slightly rockier Norah Jones number.

The Fall is a pleasant enough album, but it's one that promises more change and expansion of Jones' sound than it actually delivers. In the end, who really cares if it doesn't endear her more to the indie rock world? It's not like she's hurting for fans.

Best tracks: "I Wouldn't Need You", "It's Gonna Be"

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Epica - The Phantom Agony the Album (2003)

01. Adyta (The Neverending Embrace)
02. Sensorium
03. Cry For The Moon (The Embrace That Smothers - Part IV)
04. Feint
05. Illusive Consensus
06. Façade Of Reality (The Embrace That Smothers - Part V)
07. Run For A Fall
08. Seif Al Din (The Embrace That Smothers - Part VI)
09. The Phantom Agony
10. Veniality [bonus]
11. Triumph of Defeat [Japanese bonus]

I guess that no one hasn't heard that Mark Jansen had to leave After Forever in April 2002; it was quite big news in the Metal world. And then did his little side project, Sahara Dust become his fulltime band, Good or bad? Well, I guess good, now we have two bands in the same genre, even if I like Epica a bit more than After Forever.

I read something about Epica and decided to brought their album, and believe me, I was highly surprised of what I heard, Gothic Metal, with classic singing mixed with growls, and the songs sounded damn good too.

On vocals, the young and beautiful Simone Simons does a great job, with her classic singing style, make Epica reach another level, and with no other than Tarja Turunen as her idol. And Mark does a great job to, as songwriter, singer and guitarist, his growls fits perfect with Simone's clear and powerful voice. The albums it self is a very serious story, based on stuff like 9/11 and so.

As I said, the band was in the beginning named Sahara Dust and was a side project that Mark was working on, in the same time, as he was a member in After Forever. The only Sahara Dust release to see daylight was a two-track demo called "Cry for the Moon" after that; they changed to Epica (Taken from the Kamelot album with the same name, Kamelot is one of their favorite bands). "The Phantom Agony" was recorded in Wolfsburg with Sascha Paeth, the same guy that recorded with Kamelot and Rhapsody. (And he was a member of the old Power Metal act, Heaven's Gate). So the production is out of complains, but what could you expect from Mr. Paeth?

The Phantom Agony gives us 9 songs, 2 of them was included on the Sahara Dust demo that I was talking about. ("Cry for the Moon" & "Illusive Consensus"). And 7 new written songs. And to give the album an extra push, they added 8 strings too (3 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos) which gives the album even more Gothic feelings and some extra power. And together with Simone, they fit perfect into the album. The lyrics are filled with feelings, precisely as the music, and it very easy to take Epica to your heart and really love them.

So all of you, that want Gothic with Tarja alike vocals and some growls, check up Epica, and all After Forever fans, that miss Mark, this is for you, even if you don't miss him, this is for you too, 'cause it's close to After Forever, even if Simone is a better singer than Floor (It's my opinion).

Killing Songs: "Cry for the Moon" will kill you, believe me. And the rest of the album too, it's hard to do such a solid album.


Source : metalstorm

Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast (1982)

Disc I
01. Invaders
02. Children Of The Damned
03. The Prisoner
04. 22 Acacia Avenue
05. The Number Of The Beast
06. Run To The Hills
07. Gangland
08. Total Eclipse [1998 remastered bonus]
09. Hallowed Be Thy Name

Disc II [1998 remastered release]
01. Total Eclipse
02. Remember Tomorrow [live]

At that time, Iron Maiden had already released two studio albums, Iron Maiden and Killers, which had made them known in the British metal scene. However, vocalist Paul Di Anno was fired from the group due to his uncontrolled alcoholic problems. Although this could have been proved a painful strike, Iron Maiden's golden era was about to start. Soon, vocalist Bruce Dickinson joined the group and in 1982 they released the historically important album The Number Of The Beast.

The number Of The Beast is one of the best Iron Maiden albums and one of the best creations in the heavy metal history. It consists of nine memorable songs based on a wide variety of melodic riffs performed by guitarists Adrian Smith/Dave Murray. The bass parts prove for another time that Steve Harris is one of the best bassists and Clive Burr's drumming couldn't have worked better. In the end, Bruce Dickinson's operatic vocals send every song to the limit. Notice that some people find his vocals annoying while some others consider him as one of the greatest vocalists ever.

The song themes are usually taken from history or generally they are about situations taking place in past. Each song has a story to tell and the lyrics, which are full of imagination, are emotional and melodramatic. From time to time they can be dark or even indicate the presence of an evil entity. My favorite quote is: "When you know that your time is close at hand, maybe then you'll begin to understand, life down here is just a strange illusion".

As far as song highlights are concerned, this album contains the emotionally loaded song 'Children of the Damned" with Dickinson being very persuasive. Also, there is the totally classic song 'The Number of the Beast', which is about evil powers overtaking the world. Additionally, it contains 'Run to the Hills', which is an anthem/song written about the Indians. The intro is one of the most unforgettable riffs ever and the solo is one of the best [if not the best] in this album. In the end, you'll find the seven minutes long song 'Hallowed be thy Name', which describes the last moments of a man who's going to be executed.

The Number Of The Beast is an album with excellent artwork and the booklet contains liner notes and info, lyrics for all the songs and a very interesting collection of pictures [notice that we are talking about the 1998 remasters]. The CD is enhanced, which means that you can play it from your CD-rom drive. Also you will be able to view the interactive content including the two video clips 'The Number of the Beast' and 'Run to the Hills'! Also, There are photos, bios, album information, samples from other Iron Maiden albums and even an Iron Maiden Family tree!

Password: hailmetal

Epica - Design Your Universe (2009)

The complete track listing has been revealed for "Design Your Universe", the new album from Dutch female-fronted symphonic metallers EPICA. Due in Europe on October 16 via Nuclear Blast Records, the follow-up to 2007's "The Divine Conspiracy" was recorded at Gate Studio in Wolfsburg, Germany with producer Sascha Paeth.

"Design Your Universe" track listing:

01. Samadhi (prelude)
02. Resign to Surrender (A New Age Dawns - Part IV)
03. Unleashed
04. Martyr of the Free Word
05. Our Destiny
06. Kingdom of Heaven (A New Age Dawns - Part V)
07. The Price of Freedom (interlude)
08. Burn to a Cinder
09. Tides of Time
10. Deconstruct
11. Semblance of Liberty
12. White Waters
13. Design Your Universe (A New Age Dawns - Part VI)

The cover artwork for "Design Your Universe" can be viewed below (artwork by Stefan Heilemann).

Password : hailmetal 

Nightwish - Once (2004) The Album


01- Dark Chest of Wonders.
02- Wish I Had An Angel.
03- Nemo.
04- Planet Hell.
05- Creek Mary's Blood.
06- The Siren.
07- Dead Gardens.
08- Romanticide.
09- Ghost Love Score.
10- Kuolema Tekee Teiteilijan.
11- Higher Than Hope.
12- Live To Tell The Tale.

Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984–1994

Track list :
  1. When We Dance
  2. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
  3. Fields Of Gold
  4. All This Time
  5. Englishman In New York
  6. Mad About You
  7. It's Probably Me
  8. They Dance Alone [Cueca Solo]
  9. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
  10. Fragile
  11. We'll Be Together [Previously Unreleased Version] [#][Version]
  12. Moon Over Bourbon Street
  13. Love Is The Seventh Wave
  14. Russians
  15. Why Should I Cry For You?
  16. This Cowboy Song
  17. Fragilidad
Are you looking for a timeless album that contains no filler songs and can be enjoyed year after year? If so, look no further than the album entitled Fields of Gold by Sting. Sting, born Gordon Matthew Sumner, was the lead singer of the popular band The Police. This talented artist has been producing high quality records ever since he decided to go solo in 1984.

Sting has always produced eclectic pop music revealing jazz, classical and world influences and Fields of Gold is certainly no exception. A wonderful assortment of songs in all these categories included. This album is a best of compilation of Sting's most popular songs from 1984 to 1994. What makes this best of album so unique is the fact that it contains 3 previously unreleased tracks. "When We Dance," "This Cowboy Song" and an alternate version of "We'll Be Together" isn't available on any of his previous albums. This provides added value to individuals who already own his other albums.

Fields of Gold includes 14 amazing songs, with not one wasted filler in the compilation. Sting is well renowned for his thought provoking, intelligent lyrics so you won't find any "pop fluff" on this album. What you will find on this romantic album are beautiful ballads such as "When We Dance," "Fields of Gold," "Be Still My Beating Heart," "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You," and "Fragile." Sting's sensual voice and poignant lyrics provide a great backdrop to a cozy evening by the fire or slow dancing with your partner.

This compilation is filled with variety in addition to the romantic classics. The song "An Englishman in New York" is reminiscent of Sting's time spent with The Police and "This Cowboy Song" has a unique sound. "Why Should I Cry For You" is a slightly different version of the original song that graced the Soul Cages album. The songs "Fortress Around Your Heart," "If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free," and "Russians" have a distinct jazz feel. Sting brings a great melancholic mix to the album by including songs such as "All This Time" and "Why Should I Cry For You?" They relate to Sting's grief over the death of his father.

My favorite song on the album has to be "They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)." Perhaps this relates to the fact that I spent many months traveling throughout Chile. I learned firsthand about the awful atrocities committed by the dictator of the country, General Pinochet. He tortured and killed thousands of innocent young boys and men; the hauntingly beautiful lyrics of his song reveal the tremendous sense of loss experienced by the female survivors. Even if you aren't familiar with the background concerning the song, I'm sure you will fall in love with it just the same.


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