Music » Critics' Choices

Norah Jones

Monday, July 14, at the Midland Theatre.

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Forget that she's Ravi Shankar's daughter. Get past the pop-singer-or-jazz-singer debate music critics have been waging for the past year. Ignore the multiplatinum status of her debut release, Come Away With Me. Set aside the next-new-thing hype that served as a yearlong prelude to this past February's Grammys. Oh, and those eight Grammys? Try not to think about those, either. Put all that aside for just a moment -- which is probably all you'll get -- and consider the simple notion that Norah Jones has one of the most captivating voices to emerge in the past 25 years. That's a pretty hefty mantle, especially considering that she's been around for only 24 of them. Although it didn't take long for Jones to catch the attention of execs at Blue Note Records, historically a jazz outfit, her style -- an engaging mix of jazz, pop and contemporary folk -- is decidedly nontraditional fare for the label. Yet, in the end, that's what makes Jones such a welcome anomaly; good music and good musicians defy genres and categorization on their way to being known simply as great art and great artists. Whether Jones is capable of shouldering that burden as it blossoms into a career remains to be seen. But then again, forget all that for now and simply enjoy this songbird and the melodies she has to offer.

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