Jamie played Proms last night and it you were not lucky enough to be there or to listen online, you can watch his performance tonight on BBC 4 at 7.30pm.
This is what you have to look forward to 🙂
Jamie Cullum and the Heritage Orchestra
(comp/arr. Tom Richards)
Composed and arranged by tonight’s musical director Tom Richards, the Overture uses motifs from Cullum’s ‘All at Sea’, and is designed as an atmospheric introduction to the unique sound of the Heritage Orchestra.
All at Sea
(Cullum, arr. Tom Richards)
This is a piece about introspection and the need for solitude, with the lyrics depicting the sea as a place of escape, the inner calm and peace that can prove so elusive in the big city. A languorous melody is embellished by fleeting brass and accordion to evoke the whisper and caress of the waters, while Cullum sings that, when ‘all at sea’, he is free from distraction: no-one can bother him and drinking on his own is an appealing rather than a depressing prospect. However, a sharp change of key and tempo in the latter half of the song sees him recognise the most human of needs as he calls for company in his new-found haven: ‘Come and spend some time with me / We will spend it all at sea.’
Just One of Those Things
(Cole Porter, arr. Frank Foster)
Along with ‘Night and Day’ and ‘Love for Sale’, this is one of the finest offerings of Broadway legend Cole Porter to the Great American Songbook. Covered by anybody from Nat ‘King’ Cole to Shirley Bassey, this irrepressibly jaunty tale of the vagaries of love has become a staple of the Cullum set-list in recent times and he performs it with a vigour and wit that remain true to the spirit of the original. ‘Just One of Those Things’ is a piece with a complex emotional subtext, a blend of nonchalance and regret that requires the kind of well-judged vocal performance that Cullum has consistently produced over the years.
Get Your Way
(Cullum, arr. Tom Richards)
With a funky, bluesy rhythm based on the classic Allen Toussaint tune ‘Get Out of My Life, Woman’, ‘Get Your Way’ is a cheeky, irreverent reflection on romance, seduction and the push-and-pull of the dating game. Cullum recognises that the object of his desire will tantalise him, fluttering her eyelids and tossing her hair like a femme fatale, but he is nonetheless willing to play along. The teasing lyrics are supported by an arrangement whose energetic bursts of piano mirror the twists and turns taken by the will-they-won’t-they lovers. A song with a fair amount of humour as well as a sharp dose of reality.
If I Ruled the World
(Leslie Bricusse/Cyril Ornadel, arr. Tom Richards)
Taken from the best-selling album The Pursuit, this is Cullum’s personal spin on the perennial theme of heaven on earth. The dewy idealism of the lyrics, boldly announced in the first verse – ‘Every day would be the first day of spring / Every heart would have a new song to sing’ – marks a contrast with the downbeat sobriety of the arrangement, which uses almost dirge-like piano chords and tense string effects against the singer’s earnest vocals. The result is a song that has a bittersweet quality, perhaps in recognition of both the impossibility of the dream and the staunch refusal to abandon it.
(Cullum, arr. Mark Nightingale/Tim Davies/Tom Richards)
This is one of the most popular pieces in Jamie Cullum’s repertoire of originals to date. It’s a song in which he puts his finger on the well-worn clichés of modern life – anything from the gap year to gym membership, for the sake of finding oneself (as well as gaining that much sought-after six-pack). But Cullum also engages in a fair amount of self-mockery, claiming to be an expert on Shakespeare in a world that ‘don’t need scholars as much as I thought’. The piece is set to the finger-snapping soul jazz style of the 1960s and gives both Cullum and the band many opportunities to play with the beat and crank up the energy.
It Ain’t Necessarily So
(Gershwin, arr. Rory Simmons)
Along with ‘Summertime’, this is one of the iconic songs from George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess, a creation that has proved grist to the mill of many a jazz musician over the years, none more so than Miles Davis, one of Jamie Cullum’s primary sources of inspiration. The original has a strong, resonant gospel flavour and the gorgeous, floating melody lends itself to both sensitive and energetic renditions. Cullum’s has both qualities. Tonight he is using a mighty six-piece horn section, which includes the bass-heavy sousaphone, as well as a lively percussion group that duly bring a wide range of textures and rhythms to the lead vocal.
Love Ain’t Gonna Let You Down
(Cullum, arr. Tom Richards)
A wounded, autumnal ballad in which Cullum pours out emotion, as he recognises that the game of love is one in which the line between winning and losing can be a fine one. Musically, this fraught, atmospheric piece is built on tremulous sounds – a faint, low sizzle of Hammond organ, a slow swell of horns on the chorus, a discreet jangle of guitar – while the air of resignation created by Cullum’s voice is lightened by a line in the middle of the piece that reflects ongoing belief in love, despite the challenges it poses: ‘You wear your heart like a brooch for all to see / The blood that pumps through, well, you save that for me.’
Duet with special guest Martin Taylor
What a Difference a Day Made
(María Méndez Grever, arr. Chris Hill)
As far as love songs go, this is one of the rosiest ever written, its jaunty melody brilliantly rounded off by one of the most simple but effective of lines to explain how one person can affect another – ‘the difference is you’. Originally penned by the Mexican composer María Méndez Grever back in 1934, the piece has proved a favourite among a long, illustrious list of singers and Cullum dutifully upholds the legacy. His version is a relaxed, leisurely one in which he uses the space between the lyrics to deliver short, tasteful improvisations, while his voice is used to convey the brightness of the lyric and the transformation of stormy skies brought about by the presence of his lover.
You and Me are Gone
(Cullum/Geoff Gascoyne/Sebastiaan de Krom, arr. Tom Richards)
Another swing-based piece with a rousing gospel flavour on the chorus which fully expresses the dizzying nature of new love, as Cullum openly declares that he is being driven more than a bit crazy by the object of his desire. ‘Even I don’t know what I’m feeling / Lost you til I’m found.’ In keeping with the lyric, the piece has a bustling, joyous beat that swirls into a strong Latin rhythm in the second half of the arrangement as sharp Cuban percussion kicks in and Cullum launches into a piano solo that keeps the energy level high.
You’re Nobody ’Til Somebody Loves You
(Russ Morgan/Larry Stock/James Cavanaugh, arr. Evan Jolly/Steve Grey)
Written by Russ Morgan, Larry Stock and James Cavanaugh in 1944, this enduring song has been brought to a new audience by Jamie Cullum. Set to a sprightly walking blues rhythm, the lively melody and lyrics sound a note of caution for those who may feel that their lives are missing something, even though, materially, they may want for nothing. A king who has riches can’t be happy unless he has somebody with whom to share his fortune, especially as the ageing process can cast a long shadow on the trappings of wealth. We all need somebody to love.
(Cullum, arr. Tom Richards)
An ode to the days when kids made compilations on C-30s, C-60s and C-90s rather than sharing files over the internet. Indeed, Cullum himself sings unabashedly, ‘this ain’t no MP3’. ‘Mixtape’ is about more than nostalgia, though. The song essentially points out that an individual’s favourite playlist can be a guide to their personality or, as Cullum expresses it, ‘a blueprint of my soul’. The chorus has driving, high-tempo drums that mark a contrast with the leisurely classical flavour of the piano, while the sassy vocals reinforce the central message that a mixtape can be a very personal memento from one person to another. We also learn that Cullum’s treasured tape – possibly with a love note on the inlay card – features such giants as Coltrane, Armstrong, Monk and The Cinematic Orchestra.
These Are the Days
(Ben Cullum, arr. Tom Richards)
A decidedly mellow, mildly country blues ballad that looks back wistfully on the days of ‘summer wine’ yet at the same time recognises that some relationships just don’t work out, even though we might think that we can ‘get through any weather’. This is a song for dreamers as well as lovers, as it really reveals the power of memory and the ability that each of us has to seek solace in the good times. Although played at an unhurried and easy pace to capture the indolence and easy living of summertime, the song can also build to something of a towering, grandstand finish in which Cullum can intensify his vocal.
(Cullum/Kyle Eastwood/Michael Stevens, arr. Tom Richards)
Featured in Clint Eastwood’s acclaimed 2008 film on race relations in modern-day America, ‘Gran Torino’ is a thoughtful and thought-provoking reflection on human nature, community and society. Set to an understated rhythm that draws an earned, measured vocal performance from Cullum, the piece looks at values in a very subtle way and when he sings of a need to ‘Realign all the stars above my head’, one can’t help but see the American flag floating above the Korean War vet played by Eastwood in the film. The central image of the heart that ‘beats a lonely rhythm all night long’ recognises the difficult nature of coexistence and the pressing need for tolerance against a backdrop of ‘bitter dreams … battle scars and worn-out beds’.
This information was taken from the BBC3 website, read it here