Let’s give a hand to the guys and girls out there who are trying to prove that jazz isn’t just for old folks, dentist offices and elevators anymore. And I’m not talking about folks like Michael Buble-although by recording with artists like Sharon Jones and injecting some contemporary flavor into his music, he’s trying-bless his heart. I’m talking about artists like Marco Benevento and resident cheeky Brit Jamie Cullum, who releases his new album, “The Pursuit”, today. Well, actually-it gets released in the U.S. today. It’s been out overseas since last fall.
Jamie’s an ace pianist and a very good vocalist as well, but he plays jazz-flavored pop without being a stuffshirt. It’s not just the jeans and Chucks he wears on album covers and during performances-it’s the playfulness he brings to his original music and the sense of daring he brings to his choice of covers-over the course of the past decade or so, he’s tackled Radiohead’s “High and Dry”, Pharrell’s “Frontin’”, and on this new album, he does a killer version of Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music”.
There must be something about the way these jazz-ish vocalists sing, because Buble scored himself a hot model, Norah Jones was going out with her handsome bass player for a while, and Cullum scored himself a model, too. Perhaps I’m in the wrong line of work?
Anyway, Cullum’s album leads a strong list of releases today. Citizen Cope, who I wrote about over the weekend, is releasing his “Rainwater LP” today. Also, R&B fans will want to check out Raheem DeVaughn’s “Love & War: The Masterpiece”. I was about to pass on this guy after not really checking for his debut (although honestly, I think I hated every album I got that had that shitty copy protection technology on it), but the follow up, 2008’s “Love Behind the Melody”, was certified truth. Hopefully this one is as good.