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Twentysomething

Jamie Cullum

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Album Review

Already a sensation in his native England, 22-year-old piano man Jamie Cullum comes off like a hip amalgamation of Harry Connick, Jr. and Randy Newman on his sophomore effort, Twentysomething. As with Blue Note's crossover wunderkind Norah Jones, Cullum works best when he's not trying too hard to please hardcore jazz aficionados, but it's not too difficult to imagine his bonus-track version of Pharrell Williams' "Frontin'" turning some jazz fans onto the Neptunes. Showcasing Cullum's sardonic wit and lounge-savvy attitude, the album deftly flows from singer/songwriter love songs to jazzy barroom romps and reappropriated modern rock tunes. Cullum has a warm voice with a slight rasp that retains a bit of his Brit accent even though his influences — Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Tom Waits — are resolutely American. Truthfully, Cullum isn't the most accomplished vocalist and his piano chops are pleasant at best — Oscar Peterson he ain't. That said, he's still a kick. What he lacks in technique he makes up for in swagger and smarts as many of his original compositions reveal. On the swinging and wickedly humorous title track — a take on postgraduate slackerdom — Cullum sardonically laments, "After years of expensive education, a car full of books and anticipation, I'm an expert on Shakespeare and that's a hell of a lot but the world don't need scholars as much as I thought." It's a timely statement in our overeducated, underemployed "dot-bomb" economy and deftly posits Cullum as a jazz singer as much of as for his generation. Also compelling are his choices of cover tunes, as he is able to imprint his own persona on the songs while magnifying what made them brilliant to begin with. To these ends, Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over" gets a gut-wrenchingly minimalist treatment and Radiohead's "High and Dry" comes off as the best Bruce Hornsby song you've never heard. Conversely, Cullum treats jazz standards as modern pop tunes, reworking them into contemporary styles that are neither cynical nor awkward. In fact, his atmospheric, '70s AM pop take on "Singin' in the Rain," replete with string backgrounds and Cullum's percolating Rhodes keyboard, is one of the most appealing cuts on the album, lending the Great American Songbook warhorse an air of virginity.

Customer Reviews

Great album

One of the best selection. I purchased this years ago and have to say. This is the buisnes . Only one to review and it is funky as. Always cheers me up. Great music. Thanx jamie.

Twentysomething (Special Edition)

This is a timeless piece of ingenuity which I appear to favour more and more with the passing of time. Rarely does an Album have the ability to both cheer you up and take you away.. and also allows you to realise. "It`s not just me....

Great starter!

If like me you never really new who Jamie Cullum was, then this is the album for you.

This is a brilliant album from start to finish. My personal favourites are 'All at Sea' and his cover of Radiohead's 'High and Dry'.

He mixes traditional and modern Jazz effortlessly and at less than a £5 is an absolute steal.

What are you waiting for . . . . buy it!

Biography

Born: 20 August 1979 in Rochford, Essex, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

British pianist/vocalist Jamie Cullum mixes jazz with melodic pop and rock into a crossover style that calls to mind such artists as Harry Connick, Jr. and Norah Jones. In that vein, Cullum will just as often cover a swinging jazz standard as a modern rock song, and his original compositions deftly move from earnest ballads to songs of sardonic wit. Having played guitar and piano since age eight, Cullum developed an avid interest in jazz passed down from his older brother Ben. Inspired by such...
Full bio

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