JESSE HARRIS AND THE FERDINANDOS The Secret Sun (Verve) Rating: NNN
Brooklyn singer/songwriter Jesse Harris hit the jackpot last year, writing the Norah Jones hit Don't Know Why and winning a Grammy for his efforts. The Jones connection made perfect sense; on his own, Harris makes the kind of politely inoffensive jazzed-up folk pop that Jones's fans would eat up. Backed by his band the Ferdinandos, Harris offers more of the same on The Secret Sun (out Tuesday). Songs like You, The Queen and You Were On My Mind are tightly written, if a tad bland, bringing a jazzy edge to what can only be described as adult contemporary pop. Harris is obviously immensely talented, but you wish he'd bring more of an edge to his delicately crafted songs. Someone this smart doesn't deserve to be stuck in the background.