Jamie Cullum is not necessarily mainstream and definitely a huge find if you come across his music. What a talent. If you ever want to find someone who was made to play, write and perform music from their soul it is this guy. TWENTYSOMETHING was the first defining moment for this great artist receiving praise from critics and listeners alike. His next release CATCHING TALES was considered a positive notch on his belt but didn’t receive the save level of praise as the latter. As a sidenote for me it definitely was a step up for Mr. Cullum. Now we have THE PURSUIT and as far as I am considered this is his new defining moment.
Every artist has a basic genre they are defined in and for Jamie Cullum is was jazz pop and many reinterpretations of old standards in the Cullum style. And he has had his style since day one. Sometimes you hear him compared to Harry Connick Jr. or Michael Buble and though he sings some standards his style is so far removed from these performers. His growth on this release is astounding. Jamie Cullum is now 30 and to see an artist grow so much at an early age is a pleasure and a rarity. Each song he tackles is not for the masses but his own interptretation done from the heart. He is a singer songwriter and he has a superb gift with the songwriting as well. His piano playing is another gift and is always used to bring emotional depth to his performances.
Some of the standards he tackles here are JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS, which starts off the cvd with a brassy, wonderful interpration that blows in your face as a great huge intro to what is to come. IF I RULED THE WORLD is a standard that many of the greats have interpreted and he makes this so much his own each time I listen I have to stop and listen to it with full attention as his vocals grab me. The important thing about Cullum is that though at first considered a singer who reinterpreted standards he has always been an inventive, risk taking independant style artist and that is a part of each song. Songs that are not standards are all written by Jamie himself and his true versatility shines on those tracks here. We get I’M ALL OVER IT which is the most poppish song he has ever done and it is amazing. WHEELS and MIXTAPE will surely become Cullum essentials and his reinterpretation of Rihanna’s DON’T STOP THE MUSIC definitely shows how much he makes a song his own. With his self penned ballad LOVE AIN’T GONNA LET YOU DOWN he shows how even with a love song he remains true as an artist and provides a tour de force performance combing intense vocals with the amazing piano playing.
Jamie does venture further away from the standards here but it all flows flawlessly for whatever genre he tackles you get the true artistry of Jamie Cullum. No song is filler and no song is repetituous. Each track gets the Cullum touch and that is a gift. He has such a gruff voice and how he can work it and reach such emotional heights astounds me. The deluxe edition gives you some great bonus tracks like GRACE IS GONE and the live version of DON’T STOP THE MUSIC. There is also a great dvd with live performances and interviews.
Such praise as I have been giving here is honestly only reserved for a performer who is a true artist and that is Jamie Cullum. He explores, invents and is always true to himself. With a true artist when they venture out sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Jamie Cullum takes many chances here and it all works. This is his best release so far and I highly recommend it.