Norah Jones plays piano as well as heartstrings on ‘Pick Me Up Off the Floor’ livestream

Photo of Norah Jones livestream concert
Danny Clinch/Courtesy

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In celebration of the one-year anniversary of her 2020 album, Pick Me Up Off the Floor, award-winning jazz pop musician Norah Jones took to an intimate studio setting June 12 to play the album in its entirety. The 42-year-old singer was joined by Brian Blade on drums, Tony Scherr on bass and Mazz Swift on violin, and together, the four delivered a performance so emotional yet collected that it would bring anyone to the verge of tears.

Kicking off the set with “How I Weep,” Jones dove headfirst into the album’s stirring nature. Every lyric she sang was painfully beautiful. “And I weep for the loss, and the loss weeps for me,” she sang with a voice that was soft but commanding. Jones proved she hasn’t lost her talent for effortlessly conveying the deep yearning the song is about, nor her talent for hitting every note perfectly. 

“Ah we did it,” she said with a sigh of relief after the first song. “That was good.” We couldn’t agree more.

Jones’ timeless piano playing was accentuated by her voice’s richness, traversing the emotional peaks and valleys of the album with ease. While Jones has long established herself as a master of bringing her music to life during live shows, she managed to reach through the screens of the audience members and gave them a direct line to her heart on the virtual show as well — despite the show being prerecorded.

The singer looked as stunning as ever, beaming throughout the performance at the piano. Wearing a whimsical pair of lizard earrings and a denim jacket, Jones exuded a suave calmness as she navigated through the heartbreak and healing chronicled on her songs. The show was simple but moving.

The sultry and bluesy lightness of “Flame Twin” showed off the artist’s vocal prowess with a minimalist take — she didn’t overdo the vocalizations or added harmonies but instead used just enough energy to get her point across. The backing band similarly matched her energy without fading into the background or overpowering her. She knew how to hit the sweet spot while limiting excess, which is what made her performance so incredibly captivating.

“Heartbroken, Day After” was the highlight of the set, packed with wistful harmonies shared by Jones and Swift. “It’s gonna be okay/ At least that’s what I tell myself/ Anyway,” she sang, immersing listeners into her feelings. The song picked up halfway through, transforming the experience from one shrouded in sadness to a beautiful, uplifting one. The backing chorus from the three other musicians was a team effort with a rich payoff.

Jones’ jazzy instrumentals and toned-down harmonies brought a sense of relaxed joy and melancholy simultaneously. She serenaded the audience with an air of complacency, but included just enough jaunty elements to lighten the mood. From the excellent violin work on “Were You Watching?” to the bluesy piano solos on “Say No More,” the live show was technically stunning and soulful. Watching Jones’ hands over the piano keys was mesmerizing, and her playing had a speakeasy and lounge-inspired atmosphere as if cultivated by a seasoned professional. It felt like sitting down at an intimate venue, drink in hand, while Jones poured out her heart.

Overall, the show had great production quality, making viewers feel as if they were eavesdropping on Jones’ studio recording sessions as the camera slowly panned around her at the piano. Filled with such raw spirit ripped straight from her heart, Jones played much more than just the piano — she played the emotions of everyone tuning in. Her knack for having her songs resonate with the masses was powerful and undoubtedly left the audience wanting more. Though the show was only 50 minutes, it felt like a lifetime, and in the best way possible.

Pooja Bale covers music. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @callmepbj.