Friday, March 31, 2006


Wednesday night with D to see Jamie Cullum at the Town Hall, courtesy of the lovely Geoff Gascoyne. Met Geoff and the adorable Bob Dorough and Sally for drinks beforehand, then caught the support by Brandi Carlile, who was passionate and feisty and full-on to the point where one slightly worries about her voice holding out beyond her young years.

Jamie was phenomenal. I've seen him perform many times over the past few years but he continues to get more and more accomplished and polished without losing any of his charm, spontaneity and infectious enthusiasm. His energy over the two hour plus set was just remarkable - he never stops moving, be it pounding the piano (with all limbs), jumping onto or off the piano (which we no longer worry about, thanks to Yamaha), darting around the stage or dancing. And just when you think he can't possibly have anything left to give he launches into the sort of drum solo one expects only from the inhabitants of Sado Island.

He has also achieved something quite amazing - he has seemingly effortlessly fused a myriad of musical forms in a way so many try to do, but fail. What begin as pop songs move fluently and intelligently into hard core jazz soloing and sometimes into free-form, or reggae, or Brazilian grooves, soul or show tunes and a duet he performed acoustically with sax player Tom Richards was almost two-part harmony Bach. The result is that the audience, many of whom have probably never been to a jazz gig in their lives, were spontaneously applauding after the jazz solos, not because they had to, or because they were copying those who knew when to applaud (as so often happens in jazz clubs...), but because they felt moved to.
There was also that vibe you get in rock and pop gigs where the audience applaud and scream after the first bar of a song because they recognise it, and in Jamie's case, they were doing exactly that - but I've never before witnessed it in the opening bars of a whole bunch of jazz standards....

Was quite exhausted after watching all this hyperactive leaping around with no pause for breath for over two hours, but couldn't possibly turn down a drink or 4 inside the tour bus. Obviously.
I say tour bus, but as D rightfully pointed out, it's probably at least three times larger than her apartment. Lovely to see all the London musicians and catch up. Lovely to drink the bus almost dry before being thrown off by the driver who had to get them to Boston overnight, lovely to hear Jamie again and once more be enchanted by the magic of watching a performer who is doubtless a true star.


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