Forget that she's Ravi Shankar's daughter. Get past the pop singer/jazz singer wars that 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 about those eight Grammys: Try not to think about those either. Put all that extraneous junk aside for just a moment -- which is probably all you'll get -- and consider the simple notion that Norah Jones might be one of the most captivating voices to emerge in the past 25 years.
Yes, it's a pretty hefty mantle, especially considering that Jones has been around for only 24 of them. It didn't take long for her to catch the attention of execs at Blue Note Records, a traditionally jazz-oriented outfit, even though her style -- an engaging mix of jazz, pop and contemporary folk -- is decidedly not the label's usual fare. But in the end that's what makes Jones such a welcome anomaly; good music and good musicians defy genres and categorization and ultimately become known simply as great art and great artists. Whether Jones is capable of shouldering that burden throughout her career remains to be seen. Then again, it's probably best to forget all that for now and just enjoy this songbird and the melodies she has to offer.