Sarah Erickson | July 23, 2010
In a summer concert fit perfectly for an outdoor amphitheatre in the Hollywood Hills, Jamie Cullum proved that his solid act impresses everyone from the regular jazz-loving college student to the five-time Oscar winner and Hollywood legend, Clint Eastwood.
Cullum serenades the crowd in an encore (Erickson).
Star-studded audience or not, Cullum had no trouble controlling the spotlight for what started out as a sophisticated outing for L.A.’s classiest (guests literally brought wine and cheese into the venue to dine on during the opening act) and became an on-your-feet, screaming at the edge of the stage, “PLEASE-TOUCH-MY-HAND-JAMIE” affair.
Cullum’s raw vocals and jaw-dropping talent on every instrument put in front of him (piano, guitar, drums and synthesizer, to name a few) combined with his unstoppable energy electrified the crowd into begging for more. And we got it. In four encore songs.
Opening with an a cappella rendition of the jazz standard “Caravan” at the front of the stage, Cullum seamlessly transitioned into the big band sound of “I’m All Over it Now” from his Pursuit album.
The remainder of the show had a well-designed balance of up-tempo pop-jazz hits and calmer ballads so intimate even the crickets chirping in the background were flawlessly infused into the sound. His intensity on songs like “All at Sea” and “Gran Torino”—which ended his set—felt so strong one could practically hear the audience holding its breath.
In the town where everyone’s a performer, Cullum appeared more than willing to share the stage—handing bells and a tambourine to guests in the first row who happily hammed-up their participation in his song “Photograph.”
The legion of gifted musicians Cullum attracts to perform with was as impressive as the main man himself. Each of Cullum’s bandmates, including his brother and song-writing partner Ben Cullum, played at least three or four instruments, oftentimes all at once. The peppy, young opening act, Gin Wigmore, had a unique alternative edge to her music with a voice that sounded like a blend of Lauryn Hill, Fiona Apple and Corinne Bailey Rae.
If Cullum’s performance indicates the level of talent coming in from overseas, I say, “Please don’t stop the music…” let the next British invasion begin.
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