“I will never forsake jazz. “The affirmation of Jamie Cullum seems incoherent when we discover the first steps of ‘Momentum’, his new disc on the Island Records label. A change of dairy (his last three albums were signed by Universal Jazz), which implies an aesthetic revival: British pianist and singer launched into a spiral where the pop jazz moves to the rank of secondary influence or tertiary behind rhythm’n’blues. But who cares? Beautifully produced in part by Jim Abbiss (who collaborated with Arctic Monkeys and Adele), ‘Momentum’ looks like a small monument pop – mainstream ? – Where the best rubs marketing drift.
Given his career, changing pop seems obvious. In 1999, at age 20, Jamie was studying literature and film at the University of Reading, released a first self trio: Heard It All Before ‘has played poorly standards – the solos are clumsy and limited piano technique – but well sung. Three years later, ‘Pointless Nostalgia’ Cullum finds its way quickly. If made in the tradition of Tin Pan Alley pop is not far behind. It signed its first hit, “High & Dry” and sings “I Wan’t to be a Popstar”, a destiny which he traces the lines with confidence. Celebrity arrives in 2004 with ‘Twentysomething’ and continues with ‘Catching Tales’, far more exciting: Jamie hiring an electric bassist, goes to Fender Rhodes and ride in a groove directory. The post-production side develops and piano technique is changing dramatically. Then came the 2009 “big-budget” ‘The Pursuit disk with an opening big band, some electronics, strings, a reversal of Rihanna (“Do not Stop The Music”), music film for Clint Eastwood (“Gran Torino”) and still more pop. Industry crisis requires, Jamie Cullum does not reach the one million records sold, but its brand is the export value.
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