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"I didn't want to just throw a bunch of people together and see how they get along," she shrugs.
She met these musicians playing on the New York bar-gig circuit which, for this 10-time Grammy winner with more than 40 million album sales to her name, remains a crucial diversionary pastime.
Her new, young, all-male band rock gently behind her.
It's the first time she's been without a woman in her line-up, and the first time she's had a band who all live in New York.
The last time I met Jones, in New York, the city of her birth, the diminutive girl reared in Fort Worth told me that she sometimes wished she didn't have to be the boss and band leader all the time.
Two years on, and 10 years since her breakthrough, it seems she's almost managed to accomplish that.
He was half of Gnarls Barkley (alongside Cee-Lo Green), created the genius mash-up record The Grey Album (a combination of Jay-Z's The Black Album and The Beatles' The White Album), and has produced everyone from Beck to Gorillaz. Little Broken Hearts is the perfect centre-point of a musical triangle formed by Adele's 21, Lana Del Rey's Born to Die and David Lynch's Crazy Clown Time album."I met Brian on the Rome project," Jones tells me when we catch up on the afternoon after the gig.
He's helped create a compelling album wreathed in languid atmospherics and noir-ish grooves."They are all kinda dark! She's curled into a sofa in a dressing-room of a Cologne TV studio, waiting to record a performance on a chat show.
As attested by the songs on her new album Little Broken Hearts, a man gone done her wrong.
"But that's the thing," she will reply, smiling slightly.
"People keep asking me, 'Aren't you nervous that people are gonna read [her own life] into all your lyrics?
Clever, erudite, smokily attractive and tastefully left-of-centre singer-songwriters are big round these parts.
Especially if they're singing songs that bleed all over the place.