Sunday, October 22, 2006

"What a difference a day makes..."

When Kogi Kaishakunin gave me these tracks, I had no expectations. That's not a bad thing. Au contraire, it is the best way to start. But, I have been listening to Jamie Cullum since then, and then again and again... This chap is good. Cullum's is a crisp, but yet somehow lusciously thick sound; jazzy and yet not remote, and never too eccentric. A quick scout over the Internet... Apparently, he is becoming something of a one man British invasion. I see that he appears on late-night shows and does concerts stateside; promoting his album (or the one that I have) "Twentysomething," and doing his thing. BTW, the disc kicks off with a wonderful song "These Are the Days," which has all the elements of what makes a good jazz vocal track -- wonderfully nimble piano, simple yet meaningful lyrics, scat singing against a backdrop of a strong bass line. And do I detect the hiss of a record player?! If there is, that just a nice cute touch. The songs chosen (there are many covers on the album) play to the advantage of Cullum's nasal voice. And even when covering someone else's lyrics, he stamps it with his own originality -- the distinct nasal tone and nimble fingers over the keys. Not since Norah Jones have I been so pleased with so young a jazz musician. And yet, somehow, it is not old school jazz. Cullum brings a grungy, scruffy university beer pub feel to it. But, I'll take it.