Piano Contrarian 

Norah Jones

Even though Norah Jones' latest artistic statement was a cinematic lip-lock with Jude Law in Wong Kar-Wai's My Blueberry Nights, which also opened this year's Cannes Film Festival, she hasn't given up her day job. Not Too Late, the Brooklynite's third album, came out earlier this year amid claims that Jones was distancing herself from the coffeehouse jazz sound that made her 2002 debut Come Away with Me a breakout smash. The stripped-down approach that yielded the Catch a Thrill-era Steely Dan vibe of "Thinking About You" and hurdy-gurdy dirge "Sinkin' Soon" reflects some of the other creative flavors the pianist is using on her latest outing. Chalk it up to dalliances with country music by way of side group the Little Willies, or Jones' decision to record in a home studio with bassist boyfriend Lee Alexander for this looser vibe, but it's all been for the betterment of a young talent refusing to be typecast. Further bolstering this rootsy stylistic turn are reports that opening act/lo-fi alt-folkie M. Ward has been regularly joining Jones onstage for a run through her rollicking "Creepin' In." Saturday, June 23 at UC Berkeley's Greek Theatre. 8 p.m., $59.50 (reserved seating), $45 (lawn seats). CalPerfs.berkeley.edu


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