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Classic Album Review: Peter Malick Group featuring Norah Jones | New York City / Jesse Harris & The Ferdinandos | The Secret Sun

Two former cohorts of the jazz-pop phenom make the most of her sudden success.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


The next best thing to being Norah Jones? Being an ex-bandmate of Norah Jones and riding her coattails to an easy payday. At least, that seems to be the purpose of at least one of two new albums from former cohorts of the jazz-pop phenom.

The biggest offender is blues guitarist Peter Malick, whose 30-minute New York City consists of newly refurbished three-year-old recordings featuring vocals by a pre-fame Jones. Unlike Malick, the Divine Ms. J has nothing to be ashamed of here; her haunting voice is every bit as intoxicating and distinctive on these seven cuts as it was on her own Come Away With Me. But with the possible exception of the languid title track, most of these tunes are pedestrian blues and rock throwaways that don’t do her justice, leaving you with the impression Jones is some kind of Bonnie Raitt impersonator.

More worthwhile is Secret Sun by Jesse Harris, Jones’s old guitarist, and — more importantly — the man who penned her breakthrough hit Don’t Know Why. But don’t expect more of the same here. On this 40-minute effort, the high-voiced Harris and his band mine a rootsier vein, sauntering through a dozen  cuts of laid-back alt-country and jazzy folk-pop. Jones graciously contributes vocals on one cut, but aside from that, it’s hard to know why any of Jones’ fans would bother.