If Norah Jones' breakout record Come Away with Me was an early evening jazz concert, her new album Day Breaks is the late-night show.
Day Breaks sees Jones return to the jazz genre after successful forays into other genres (well, okay — mostly, but not exclusively, rock). And while her 2002 debut album was a high water mark, this album has a maturity that presumably comes from her experience in the intervening years.
There's a smokier, earthier feel to Day Breaks. More slinky upright bass, and more personality in the piano and horns, though not overshadowing her gorgeous voice, which for my money is one of the most beautiful singing voices this side of Over the Rhine's Karin Bergquist.
Day Breaks is an album with hips.
Speaking of hips and horns, I've also been listening to James Brown's In the Jungle Groove, a set of full-length or alternate versions of songs he cut with the J.B.s (and a couple songs with a couple other incarnations of his backing bands) in 1969-1972.
Not counting "Funky Drummer"'s reprise, the shortest songs on the record are still more than six minutes long. A lot of the singles Brown released were recorded at or edited down to more radio-friendly lengths, so it's a lot of fun to listen to Brown and his hot-to-the-touch musicians enthusiastically jam together.
And it's got a kickass cover.
Like a lot of Brown's catalog, In the Jungle Groove is probably perfect for listening to during a workout or at a dance party, and less appropriate when trying to drift off to sleep at night.
Hopefully somewhere between putting you to sleep and making you get up and dance is my free sci-fi webcomic Flesh Machine, which continues with new pages every Tuesday at michaelavolio.com. I'll be posting this week's pages later this evening.
If you're enjoying Flesh Machine, I encourage you to tell your friends. And the same with this newsletter — you can pass it along via social media or email with the buttons near the bottom of this very email.
I've been sharing some news about a secret comics project with my monthly patrons recently over at Patreon. Those of you who are supporting my comics with Patreon, I'll share more art for that secret project with you there in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading!