This week with slung on our Monster Miles Davis headphones to consider Jamie Cullum The Pursuit. Can the diminutive Jazz/pop phenomenon surprise his critics? Read on to find out…
A lot of people seem to have an opinion about Jamie Cullum that’s based more on some instinctual dislike for his enthusiasm, his jazzy inflections, the piano stomping performance style, than it is on his music. The Pursuit could change that.
Since Jamie Cullum was parachuted into the public consciousness by Parkinson, he has released a string of increasingly poppy Jazz-influenced records. The Pursuit is a richer, more rounded creation. It reveals the influences of a man who is as at home making four-to-the-floor club tracks with his brother as knocking out jazz standards.
Opening with one of those jazz standards, Just One of Those Things, Cullum bravely inserts a verse of his own and dances round the tune with some piano experimentation. But it works.
Later, If I Ruled The World, a song memorably tackled by Tony Bennett and…um…Harry Secombe, becomes entirely Cullum’s own. Not While I’m Around from Sweeney Todd is given a new lease of life with a gritty delivery, while original compositions like Wheels have “pop” written right through them like a stick of rock.
There is one thing we’re slightly tired of though, it’s Cullum’s trademark “unusual take on a modern pop song” schtick. He does it well (in this case with an electrifying run at Rhianna’s Don’t Stop The Music) but it is really a gimmick and his own compositions are good enough to stand up for themselves.
If you’re one of Cullum’s detractors, fire up Spotify and give the record a listen. Fans of clever, modern pop will enjoy The Pursuit if they can just disengage their prejudices and preconceptions for a moment. Jamie Cullum The Pursuit is a decent listen, albeit with a few too many covers.