Album of the Week: Singalong anthems with a Sixties beat and lots of swagger
Jamie Cullum's first album for Island may be his best. It certainly goes beyond his retro-jazz comfort zone, with piercing electric organ and electric piano lending a vibrant, visceral edge to several songs.
A Violin's Life tracks the specific instrument employed on the album, a famous Stradivari known as the “Lipinski”, through pieces written by, or for, its successive owners, beginning with the baroque formality of Giuseppe Tartini's “Sonata in G minor”, notable for its technically demanding double-stopped “Devil's Trills”, and proceeding to the Romanticism of Julius Röntgen's “Violin Sonata No 2 in F sharp”, from the late 19th century.
Floraleda Sacchi's harp lends itself particularly well to the minimalist logic of Philip Glass's progressions on this anthology of transpositions, never better than on the “Opening” from Glassworks, where the bass pulse beds beautifully among the mirroring figures of the theme.
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It's a long time ago. A decade ago! But there are certain memories of that Wednesday night in Birmingham – up against Spain for my first game in charge of England – that will always stay with me.