I Dream of Christmas (Blue Note)

Norah Jones

Released October 14, 2021

JazzTimes 2021 Holiday Jazz Album






Norah Jones has been a steady voice of warmth and reassurance for nearly 20 years since her cozy 2002 debut album Come Away With Me became a familiar musical companion for millions of people around the world. Now the 9-time GRAMMY-winning singer, songwriter, and pianist has released her first-ever holiday album with I Dream Of Christmas, a delightful and comforting collection of timeless seasonal favorites and affecting new originals that explore the complicated emotions of our times and our hopes that this holiday season will be full of joy and togetherness.

“I’ve always loved Christmas music but never had the inclination to make a holiday album until now,” Norah says. “Last year I found myself listening to James Brown’s Funky Christmas and Elvis’s Christmas Album on Sunday’s during lockdown for a sense of comfort. In January 2021, I started thinking about making a Christmas album of my own. It gave me something fun to work on and look forward to.”

On the album’s opening track, Norah’s original “Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones),” she expresses a deep desire for holiday cheer and companionship. “I wanna hear the music play / I wanna dance and laugh and sway / I wanna happy holiday for Christmas.”

“When I was trying to figure out which direction to take, the original songs started popping in my head,” Norah explains. “They were all about trying to find the joys of Christmas, catching that spark, that feeling of love and inclusion that I was longing for during the rest of the year. Then there are all the classics that have that special nostalgia that can hit you no matter who or where you are in life. It was hard to narrow down, but I picked favorite classics that I knew I could make my own.”

Among the album’s many pleasures are Norah’s playful reinvention of The Chipmunk’s “Christmas Don’t Be Late” by David Seville (aka Ross Bagdasarian), which is given a languid beat and swaggering horns. Other highlights include sublime versions of “White Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Christmas Time Is Here.”

I Dream Of Christmas was produced by Leon Michels, and features an excellent cast of musicians including Brian Blade on drums, Tony Scherr and Nick Movshon on bass, Russ Pahl on pedal steel guitar, Marika Hughes on cello, Dave Guy on trumpet, Raymond Mason on trombone, and Michels on saxophone, flute, percussion, and more.

Track Listing:

1. Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones) (Norah Jones)

2. Christmas Don’t Be Late (Ross Bagdasarian)

3. Christmas Glow (Norah Jones)

4. White Christmas (Irving Berlin)

5. Christmastime (Norah Jones/Leon Michels)

6. Blue Christmas (Billy Hayes/Jay W. Johnson)

7. It’s Only Christmas Once A Year (Norah Jones)

8. You’re Not Alone (Norah Jones/Leon Michels)

9. Winter Wonderland (Richard B. Smith/Felix Bernard)

10. A Holiday With You (Norah Jones)

11. Run Rudolph Run (Johnny Marks/Marvin Brodie)

12. Christmas Time Is Here (Lee Mendelson/Vince Guaraldi)

13. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? (Frank Loesser)


Norah Jones: vocals, piano (1-9, 11-13), organ (8, 11, 13), Wurlitzer (10)

Brian Blade: drums (1-6, 8-13), percussion (3)

Tony Scherr: double bass (3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 13), electric bass (2, 10), electric guitar (13)

Nick Movshon: electric bass (1, 5, 8, 11)

Russ Pahl: pedal steel guitar (8, 9, 13)

Marika Hughes: cello (7)

Dave Guy: trumpet (2, 9)

Raymond Mason: trombone (2)

Leon Michels: synthesizer (1, 9), saxophone (2, 6, 8, 12), flute (2, 6, 9, 12), percussion (2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10), Glockespiel (2, 6)

Produced by Leon Michels 

Engineers: Jens Jungkurth (tracks: 1-6, 8-13), Leon Michels

Additional Remote Engineering Engineer: Marika Hughes, Russ Pahl

Assistant Engineer: Lucas Carpenter (3), Rashaan Carter

Mixed by Jens Jungkurth

Mastered by Alex DeTurk

Photography by Kat Irlin

Art Direction: Frank Harkins


At this point in her career, Jones is sui generis, with a languid approach to singing and accompanying herself on piano that’s instantly recognizable. She’s dabbled with holiday tunes in the past, doing Horace Silver’s “Peace” (a composition that has somehow passed into the Yuletide canon) as well as recording a very sassy Christmas EP with her compatriots in the all-woman roots-rock group Puss N Boots. On her own here, she takes on modern holiday classics such as “Blue Christmas” and “Christmas Time Is Here,” and adds her own originals “Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones),” “It’s Only Christmas Once a Year,” and “A Holiday with You.” Produced by Leon Michels and featuring Tony Scherr, Brian Blade, and Marika Hughes, the end result is a very warm and enjoyable recording with the timeless quality that usually equates to long-term holiday-album success.

Lee Mergner (JazzTimes)