How strange to be Jamie Cullum. A year ago, the 24-year-old singer-pianist was still playing Soho's Pizza Express for his bread and butter (as it were). Now he's sitting on a double-platinum album, Twentysomething, reportedly outselling Robbie and Kylie. One key element in Cullum's appeal was immediately apparent from the minute he skipped on stage. Jazz isn't known as the most light-hearted of genres but this boy was unmistakably out for some fun, diving into a spikily angular yet loose-limbed version of "Lucky So and So", complete with his trademark tricks of hand-drumming on the piano strings and case, before jumping on to the stool to stamp on the keys.
Besides his willingly effervescent personality and performance style, however, it's the way that Cullum's uncontrived eagerness and evident enjoyment feed into his music that explains his rapid success, combining as they do with a thoroughly steeped understanding of vintage jazz idioms and the great American songbook.
While he may attract extra attention with his covers of Radiohead and Jimi Hendrix it was his interpretations of such classics as "I Get A Kick Out Of You" and "Old Devil Moon" that really proved his mettle. His expertly elastic vocals matched seasoned resonance and gravel-edged depth with the immediacy of fresh-minted feeling, affirming the song's timeless qualities with his own highly individual stamp.Reuse content