New Music Tuesday: Jamie Cullum

I can appreciate Michael Buble just as much as the next guy. Proof: my wife and I danced to his version of “I’ve Got the World On a String” at our wedding. So I dig the dude, who’s about as mainstream as jazz gets, but we here at Fresh Scouts would contend that he’s not the most soulful, contemporary jazz musician out there. In terms of writing catchy music that’s memorable and respectable at the same time, nobody does it better than Jamie Cullum. Not even Buble.

Jamie CullumCullum’s new album, “The Pursuit,” is his best yet. His debut, “Twentysomething,” was revolutionary in its own right and produced some classic Cullum hits, but musically this new cut does a little bit of everything. And by “everything” I mean “everything that’s good and right about music.” His voice cuts and rolls with the rasp of a seasoned blues singer, but he’s got the vibrato and range of an R&B artist. Plus, ya know, he plays his own instrument. Guess who doesn’t? I’ll give you a hint—it rhymes with “Michael Schmooblay.”

Like all good jazz, this new Cullum album is heavy with the patient four-measure beats that tend to circle his piano riffs. Also as you’d expect, there’s plenty of improvisation and solos on the ivories. The second track, “I’m All Over It,” is typical upbeat JC, which means it’s catchy as hell and rocks some really nice melodies. “We Run Things” is a head-bobber that sounds good enough to be sampled by a hip-hop artist. And, always good for an interesting cover or two, Cullum uses this album to try on some Rhianna. You won’t recognize “Don’t Stop the Music” at first, but once you realize what you’re listening to it’s pretty cool. More than pretty cool. Awesome, even. Gnarly, tubular, etc…

Look, we all love Michael Buble. We really do. He does good work, but he’s got more of a crooning, loungy style to his bits. Cullum, on the other hand, is the kind of artist you’d catch at a smoky jazz club late on a Saturday night. You’d leave this imaginary smoky jazz club thinking, “That guy was friggin’ awesome. My night is now better having experienced that.” Now, what sounds more badass—a crooner in a lounge, or a rocker in a smoky jazz club?

Exactly.

About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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