There’s something playful about Visions, Norah Jones’ ninth album, even in the sadder moments—the way that novel guitar and keyboard timbres swirl around over simple beats and basslines, with Jones musing on life in her distinctive laidback delivery. While her 2020 album, Pick Me Up Off the Floor, co-produced by Jeff Tweedy, involved a larger cast of characters, Visions revolves around just a few, notably co-producer and multi-instrumentalist Leon Michels of El Michels Affair. The first half is just Jones and Michels, playing everything, bathed in a sparse retro-soul sound associated with Daptone and Truth & Soul Records, which is Michels’ pedigree. The second half, apart from the duo tracks “On My Way” and “That’s Life,” expands a bit to feature the pair with trumpeter Dave Guy, bassist Jesse Murphy, and drummers Homer Steinweiss or Brian Blade, all of whom played a role on Pick Me Up as well.

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