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Featuring
Norah Jones ...Featuring
Released 16 November 2010
Producer Various
Label Blue Note Records
Length 71:15
Genre Jazz, country pop, alternative
Website www.norahjones.com
71

I’ve got to be honest, up until recently I never had more than a passing interest in Norah Jones. When her debut album, Come Away With Me, was released I had her pegged as just your average female singer songwriter; competent and talented but not for me. Then a strange thing happened, she started popping up as a guest artist on albums I was buying, fitting in seamlessly with artists as varied as Foo Fighters, Outkast and Ryan Adams. Collaborations are commonplace these days but rarely has someone got involved with such diverse projects as Jones has. She’s racked up quite a few interesting duets and ...Featuring is a collection of the majority of these collaborations recorded between 2001 and 2010.

There are some absolute crackers on this album, 'Virginia Moon' recorded with Foo Fighters is the perfect chill out tune, Grohl and Jones mixing effortlessly over an acoustic bossa nova groove that was one of the highlights of 2005’s In Your Honor. Likewise, 'Take Off Your Cool', Jones’ duet with Andree 3000 of Outkast is perfectly understated and simple while still having substance. The real showstopper on the album is her Grammy award winning duet 'Here We Go Again' with Ray Charles. Set to a simple backing track of piano, drums and bass the two singers exchange passionate lines back and forth, Jones holding her own with ease alongside Charles.

I do have a couple of gripes, her version of the classic standard 'Baby It’s Cold Outside' with Willie Nelson is quite uninspired, with such a well known song it needed to pack a punch to stand out from all previous versions but the usually reliable Nelson sounds like he’s uninterested which drags the whole song down. Also Jones doesn’t always get a chance to show off her vocal talents, on 'Soon The New Day' with Talib Kweli and 'Life Is Better' with Q Tip her role is reduced to singing the hook while both rappers take centre stage. Both tracks are the high standard you’d expect from two respected rappers but perhaps for a Norah Jones album it would be nice to have heard a bit more from her.

What shines through on ...Featuring is Jones’ versatility, she has the type of voice that fits in with any genre. The calibre of artists included show the high regard she is held in, it’s rare to have an album with Q Tip, Dolly Parton and Herbie Hancock involved. But the versatility works against the album to a degree; will the Norah Jones fans be interested in her forays into hip hop, will they care for the experimental jazz of Hancock? It’s an album with something for everyone but by the same token everyone will have a track or two that will never get more than a few listens.

- Brian Kinsella