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Various Artists "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean: A Tribute to Waylon Jennings," DualTone Norah Jones is a Texan after all.

Despite her armload of Grammys for a jazz album, Jones grew up surrounded by twang and both worlds show up here on her silky cover of Waylon Jennings' "Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want To Get Over You)."

Jones is not the only non-country artists on this tribute, which shows off how deep Jennings' influence has been outside Nashville.

Henry Rollins, former leader of the punk band Black Flag, shows up with a screaming guitar run at "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean." And the Crickets handle "Lock, Stock and Teardrops."

The other contributors are the usual alt-country suspects.

A Tex-Mex accordion drifts through Nanci Griffith's gentle "You Asked Me To," Dave Alvin wraps his big, scratchy baritone around a melancholy "Amanda" and Kris Kristofferson, his ravaged voice barely recognizable, delivers "I Do Believe."

Guy Clark is the perfect match for "Good Hearted Woman" and Robert Earl Keen bangs out a perfectly rocking "Nashville Rebel." Radney Foster rocks "Luckenbach, Texas" and Junior Brown dishes up a jangly "Nashville Rebel." John Doe, Carlene Carter, Allison Moorer and Alejandro Escovedo also contribute.

Regina Carter "Paganini: After a Dream" Verve Before becoming the most celebrated violinist in jazz, Regina Carter was classically trained. After performing a classical program two years ago at the Carlo Felice Opera House in Italy - playing Niccolo Paganini's violin - she became obsessed with recording with the famous instrument.

That's a lot easily wished for that pulled off.

The 250-year-old violin, left to the city of Genoa when Paganini died in 1840, is literally priceless. It travels, and never very far, with two armed guards, a violin repair master and members of the committee in charge of its care.

The committee initially resisted Carter's proposal to record with the instrument, more on moral grounds than bureaucratic. They insist the music match the instrument and considered jazz vulgar. Carter had wanted to return to her classical roots anyway, so she put together a list of classical pieces the committee could live with, including Ravel's "Pour Une Infante Defunte," Debussy's "Reverie" and Luiz Bonfa's "Black Orpheus."

That's not to say she didn't cheat a little, even with three cuts that include an 18-piece orchestra. Her regular jazz band is here, bassist Chris Lightcap, Alvester Garnett on drums and percussionist Mayra Casales and she manages to make things swing.

Among the classics is a piece of Carter's own "Alexandra," ending with Carter vocalizing over a sweet percussive beat.

As good

as Carter is, and she is a stunning musician, Paganini's violin nearly steals the show. Nicknamed the Cannon for his booming, sonorous tone, the instrument truly has a spirit all its own.

Mariza "Fado Curvo" Times Square Records Mariza began singing the fado before she could read. Her father drew pictures for her so she could remember the lyrics.

It makes you wonder what figures her father drew for fado's traditional themes of betrayal, despair, adultery and revenge.

Fado is the blues of Portugal, an earthy style of music, played partly with traditional acoustic instruments, with laid back rhythms and soaring, often pained vocals.

Mariza, a genuine sensation in Europe, remains faithful enough to the traditional song form to please die-hard fans, but adds a jazz singers phrasing and improvisation.

In the gentle opener, "O Silencio da Guitarra," she sings, "When the soul becomes immense/ The sadness also sings/ In an almost still weeping." It doesn't matter that it's all in Portuguese. When Mariza sings, you don't have to understand Portuguese to understand the fado. Her voice is so evocative, so powerfully melancholy, she transcends language.

Chris Jorgensen can be reached at 657-1311 or cjorgensen@billingsgazette.com

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