Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jamie Cullum shows change and evolve in The Pursuit

While it is being strongly mooted that jazz is in steady decline and that the average jazz enthusiasts are among the geriatrics an emergent band of young musicians have not only given credence to the genre but also wining new jazz fans while garnering measurable return on a chancy investment.

Jamie Cullum , English based pop-jazz, crossover jazz singer, pianist is one such musician who stuck his neck out and earned the distinction of being UK’s biggest selling jazz artist of all times and with only three studio albums.

His fifth album, The Pursuit, released November 9, pragmatically sidles to some extent to the pop-side assuredly an effort to captivate a wider, larger market. Purposefully, the Decca Record 14-track CD/DVD Deluxe Edition opens with a Cole Porter jazz classic, “Just One of Those Things”, first of five covers, and closes out with an atypical house music track “Music Is Through” that is indicative of the roadway The Pursuit travelled.

Jamie Cullum penned the first album single “I’m All Over It”, the cheery “Wheels”, the animated swing “You and Me Are Gone”, his love songs “Mixtape” and “Love Ain’t Gonna Let You Down”. Cullum adopted Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music”, Leslie Bricusse’s “If I Ruled the World” fitted snuggly after “Wheels” (fallen off the world), Stephen Sondheim’s promise “Not While I’m Around” and another Cole Porter tune, "Love For Sale", the latter makes the DVD side of the album.

While the album cover art illustrates an exploding piano, which is the way Jamie prosecute his live performances, The Pursuit is a pop compared to the piano fireworks of Twentysomething. Yet, the intention of both Grammy-nominated producer Greg Wells and Cullum, the former British Jazz Rising Star, seemingly was to move the album outside of the expected and extends the musician’s reach.

Another point to note is that The Pursuit title has no reference in any of the composite tunes. The Grammy and Golden Globe nominated musician admits “The reason I made it the album title was that I've come to realize that life is one long pursuit. Being a musician is not about any obvious goal; it's about appreciating the journey as opposed to the destination”.

Actually, the title was drawn from Nancy Mitford’s classic novel, The Pursuit of Love. "In life, we pursue everything. Life is one long pursuit," Jamie continued, and the album is just such a pursuit”, a combination of his eclectic music tastes and enduring love of Jazz and its timeless standards.

Music Week’s Andy Morris calls The Pursuit ‘bold, experimental and the best thing Cullum's done’. His fans will offer their own superlatives of this exciting musician who admires people like Miles Davis and Tom Waits much because they “make all kinds of different records, they change and evolved over the years”.

The Pursuit shows that Jamie Cullum is changing and evolving into a more seasoned, matured, better musician.

1. Just One of Those Things
2. I'm All Over It
3. Wheels
4. If I Ruled the World
5. You and Me Are Gone
6. Don't Stop the Music
7. Love Ain't Gonna Let You Down
8. Mixtape
9. I Think I Love You
10. We Run Things
11. Not While I'm Around
12. Music Is Through

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