July 26, 4:12 PMSeattle Live Music ExaminerDan Coxon
British jazz singer-pianist Jamie Cullum may not enjoy the profile of Michael Buble or Harry Connick Jr. on American shores, but his concert at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, proves that he’s more than their equal.
Our driver’s assertion that Cullum is a ‘teen singer’ falls a long way short of the mark, but as we’re dropped off at the steps of the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, Woodinville, the lawns are already covered with a patchwork of picnic blankets and deckchairs. It’s clear that British star Cullum has a growing following Stateside – even if he hasn’t qualified as a teen for over ten years.
Chateau Ste. Michelle proves to be the perfect setting to enjoy Jamie Cullum’s modern take on jazz and soul, as the sun slowly sets behind the trees, and the moon rises behind the Wine Sales tent. The crowd is entertained by New Zealand’s Gin Wigmore before Cullum takes to the stage, and her slick ballads stand out in stunning contrast to her lively on-stage persona – but it’s clear that the fans are here for one man only.
When Cullum takes to the stage he immediately launches into recent single ‘I’m All Over It’, and it’s plain to see what all the fuss has been about. His performance manages to be both casual and note-perfect, bouncing with energy and natural talent as Cullum leads a minimal band with his frenetic piano-playing. Harry Connick Jr. may have oozed jazz charm, but he never looked this lively.
Jamie Cullum proves be just as entertaining between songs, too, as he jokes about Kings Of Leon’s recent problems with pigeon poop and the fact that his bassist reminds him of his schoolteacher, who he repeatedly refers to as a “knobhead”. When he runs through the inventory of items that have been thrown on-stage during the course of the evening, it’s little surprise to hear such an extensive list of loot – the boy’s a natural charmer.
The evening’s highlights include ‘These Are The Days’ featuring Joe Powers on harmonica, and a covers medley of Radiohead’s ‘High & Dry’ and ‘Singing In The Rain’, but it’s hard to pick out single songs in an evening that skips from one hit to another. When Cullum winds down with local hero Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Wind Cries Mary’ and a solo version of his theme from Gran Torino, it’s hard to believe that two hours have passed since he took to the stage.
Jamie Cullum may not be a household name in America quite yet, but if he carries on like this it won’t be long. He pairs nicely with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, too.
I’m All Over It
Just One Of Those Things
Get Your Way
What A Difference A Day Makes
Don’t Stop The Music
You’re Nobody ’til Somebody Loves You
Not While I’m Around
These Are The Days
All At Sea
I Get A Kick Out Of You
High & Dry/Singing In The Rain
Wind Cries Mary
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