Source + full interview
Jamie Cullum, jazz-bod extraordinaire, is in the back-lounge of his tour bus driving through rural France.
Where are you, we ask.
“I have no idea!” he replies.
Where were you last that was like a real place, we respond.
“Paris,” he says. “That was definitely a real place. And prior to that, Amsterdam.”
The line goes ominously dead for a few seconds before a crackly Jamie returns.
“I’m kind of hoping wherever we’re going next is a real place too…”
Mr Cullum, I put it to you that your new single Love For Sale is very hip-hop indeed…
That’s how I got into jazz – through samples in hip-hop and record collecting. Sample culture is part of my work, and has been for many years. Basslines and riffs are part of a jazz musician’s DNA and obviously hip-hop is based around that same thing. Roots Manuva’s Witness the Fitness features one of my favourite basslines of all time – that’s probably the same for a lot of people! Hip-hop is, largely, about sex, so singing Cole Porter’s 1930’s song about hookers over the top of this Roots Manuva bassline and turning it back into essentially a jazz song with a jazz piano solo in the middle, made sense in my brain!
Is there a desire in you to throw people off the scent, make them think about you in a different way?
Absolutely – and I totally understand what you’re saying. Obviously there’s a reason the label led with that, too – that song is the first thing a lot of people will have heard from the new record. Funnily enough, there’s a YouTube clip of me jamming out this with a loop pedal about five or six years ago. I’m always looking for ideas that excite me, and then trying not to think about how people will take it, because if I think about that too much, then I’ll wrong-foot myself! My impulse is just to do crazy shit that amuses me, so I do like the idea that people think they’ve got my number, but actually it turns out they haven’t. A lot of my hard-core fans are very accepting of my moves like that. They’ve all heard stuff that I’ve done with Pharrell and stuff I’ve done with Sander Kleinenberg – the ones that really know me expect there to be a few wrong-foots along the way.