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Grammys turn Jones into rock royalty

Newcomer Norah Jones was anointed pop music royalty on Sunday after winning all five major Grammy awards for which she was nominated. Her record-setting rise to the top was as unlikely as it was meteoric: "Come Away With Me," Jones's debut album, is a mellow collection of country-tinged jazz-pop: sophisticated, melodic, immaculately produced, and very adult.

What a coincidence. The last new artist to dominate the Grammys so definitively by taking the prestigious categories of album and record of the year (plus three others) was Christopher Cross — whose eponymous 1980 debut was sophisticated, melodic, immaculately produced and adult.

"Sailing," anyone? That's the tune that won record and song of the year. But the pleasure cruise didn't last long for Cross. He followed his Grammy sweep with an Oscar for "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" and the soap opera leitmotif "Think of Laura," then promptly disappeared from the Top 40.

So should Jones be quaking in her lace-up stiletto sandals? Hardly.

Fred Taylor, longtime Boston jazz impresario, who was instrumental in launching the careers of Diana Krall and Jane Monheit, predicts a bright future for Jones — despite the unique pressures of the commercial mainstream.

"It's tough to come off of a monstrous first record," says Taylor. "It's almost like a curse. What do you do for an encore? But I know when I hear something good, and Norah has a definitive sound and enough musical talent to have a long career."

Still, the only thing the pop machine loves more than a winner is a new winner, and for a moment it seemed the backlash was beginning before Jones had returned home from the after-parties. Monday morning, Star 93.7 FM morning host Ralphie referred to the newly minted star as "Snorah."