Monday, July 19, 2004

Life! Review of Jamie Cullum's Singapore Showcase
-- by Jill Alphonso
It's Jazz His Style
[there's a side-profile photo of Jamie standing at the piano, banging the keys and singing, with the caption: "I Tell Ya, He Rocks: With his rocker moves, Jamie Cullum eschews the way of jazz greats to creat his own style."]
"It is debatable whether singer and songwriter Jamie Cullum will be remembered as a great jazz musician.
Especially since his music is heavily influenced by pop culture, and since even he admits that it is not 100 per cent jazz.
But what is obvious, once you have seen him play, is that he is a madcap live-wire performer with an irresistible onstage charm.
Clad in a T-shirt, Diesel jeans and sneakers, Cullum, 24, sauntered onto the stage at a private show at Aquadisiac last Friday night before a crowd of 500.
He casually took a sip of wine from his glass before breaking into a cover of the song, I Get A Kick Out Of You.
His second song was a now-famous cover of hip-hop brand N.E.R.D.'s Frontin', which he first performed on BBC Radio 1 earlier this year, and which caused the crowd at Aquadisiac to cheer wildly as he started to sing.
During the rest of the one-hour performance, he played hits from his latest album, Twentysomething, which included originals All At Sea and These Are The Days, and covers like Radiohead's High And Dry and Jimi Hendrix's Wind Cries Mary.
Throughout the show, he was literally all over the piano.
He leapt off the top of it twice, drummed on its sides to the beat and plucked at its strings. He even rolled on his back on the floor and drummed the base of the piano with his hands.
If one was tempted to think that he was abusing his instrument, he also paused once at the end of a song to plant kisses on its side.
"I'm not a polite performer," Cullum said in an interview at his hotel a day before the show. "What's important to me is that I'm comfortable onstage."
And comfort obviously means pouding sharply on the piano keys, barely sitting down at the instrument, but rather standing to dance and tossing his hair.
He said the dancing was honed at raves in his hometown of Wiltshire when he was 16 years old.
There, he would dance all night to drum 'n' bass music, which has had an influence on his own compositions, he said.
But where do suspiciously rocker moves like the hair-tossing and stamping of feet come from?
Cullum has played in numerous bands since he first picked up a guitar at age 13.
He also played guitar and keyboards in a rock band, Taxi, before going solo.
"I find music infectious, and I want to bring that to the audience throught he performance," he said of his onstage antics.
That philosophy certainly won the crowd over last Friday. By the time he left the stage, sweaty, smiling and thanking the crowd for its enthusiasm, the audience had gotten onto its feet to give him a standing ovation.
Rock on, Jamie."
Nice review, I think. :)
By the way, forgot to put in this link to his official website, which features lots of news updates, photo galleries, and even a journal section from Jamie himself.
Also, sincere thanks to his bassist and drummer -- Geoff and Sebastiaan -- who actually took the time to answer an email I sent recently ( after the showcase ). The former tells me they'll be recording a new album come January 2005, so look out for that. :)
Right, I need to sleep before my night shift. Going for a mass casualty exercise later, which should be quite fun, mostly 'cos I won't have to see patients for maybe 3-4 hours, ha!

No comments: