Jamie Cullum – Perugia – 12 luglio 2021
Jamie Cullum (born 20 August 1979) is an English jazz-pop singer-songwriter and radio presenter. Although primarily a vocalist and pianist, he also accompanies himself on other instruments, including guitar and drums. Since April 2010, he has presented a weekly evening jazz show on BBC Radio 2.
His Jewish father, whose mother had managed to flee Nazi Germany, was born in Jerusalem. His mother, whose father was Indian and mother Burmese, was born in Burma; when the Japanese invaded, the family left Burma and moved to Wales, with his mother aged five.
Cullum was born in Rochford, Essex, but was brought up in Hullavington, south of Malmesbury, Wiltshire. He attended Grittleton House School until the age of 15, followed by Sheldon School in Chippenham. Contrary to some reports, he was not offered a place at the University of Oxford; he read English Literature and Film Studies at the University of Reading, from which he graduated with First Class Honours.
Cullum produced his first album, Heard It All Before, with only £480. It was released in 1999 with only 500 copies made. The success of the album led to an invitation to appear on Geoff Gascoyne's album Songs of the Summer.
After graduating from Reading University, Cullum released his best-selling album, Pointless Nostalgic (2002), which stirred interest from broadcasters Michael Parkinson and Melvyn Bragg.
Just after Cullum made his first television appearance, on Parkinson, in April 2003, he signed a £1m contract for three albums with Universal, who beat Sony in a bidding war. Cullum's second studio album, Twentysomething, released in October 2003, went platinum and became the No. 1 selling studio album by a jazz artist in the United Kingdom. Cullum ended 2003 as the UK's biggest selling jazz artist of all time.
Although primarily a jazz musician, Cullum performs in a wide range of styles and is generally regarded as a "crossover" artist with his musical roots firmly based in jazz. Cullum draws his inspiration from many different musicians and listens to an eclectic mix of music including Miles Davis.
A stomp box made from a small wooden block (not to be confused with an effect pedal for guitars) features in Cullum's concerts. The box is used to amplify a musician's tapping foot. Cullum found this in Melbourne, Australia and uses it to enhance upbeat and fast-paced songs such as "Seven Nation Army", originally by The White Stripes, and "Gold Digger", originally by Kanye West. He also often uses a looping machine; this plays a major part in Cullum's versions of "Seven Nation Army" and "Teardrop" by Massive Attack. Cullum also beatboxes at most gigs.
As well as The White Stripes and Kanye West, Cullum has performed work by Massive Attack, Pharrell, Rihanna, Pussycat Dolls, Radiohead, Gnarls Barkley, Elton John, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Joy Division, Lady Gaga and many others. He has performed with Deltron 3030, Kylie Minogue, Sugababes, will.i.am, Burt Bacharach and The Heritage Orchestra.
Cullum has played at many large music festivals, including Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (in 2006, 2009 and 2015), Montreux Jazz Festival (2004, 2009, 2014, 2016, 2018), Glastonbury (2004, 2009 and 2017), New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (in 2005), Coachella (2005), South by Southwest (2004, 2006), North Sea Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowl (performing with the Count Basie Orchestra), the 2006 Playboy Jazz Festival, the 2007 Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival and the 2008 Monterey Jazz Festival. On 30 April 2006 Cullum played his biggest-ever crowd on Queensday in the Netherlands.
In February 2012, Germany picked Roman Lob with "Standing Still", a composition by Cullum alongside Steve Robson and Wayne Hector, as their entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.
In October 2014, Cullum appeared in a comedy sketch with Jimmy Carr and Daisy Lowe, which was made for Channel 4's The Feeling Nuts Comedy Night to raise awareness of testicular cancer.
In January 2017, Cullum appeared as a member of the house band in ITV's The Halcyon.
On this album, Cullum created covers of old classics with new arrangements of Bob Dorough's composition "Devil May Care", Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't" and Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So".
The song as recorded by Cullum ("It Ain't Necessarily So") is also used in the film The Anatomy of Hate; A Dialogue to Hope by Mike Ramsdell.
Recorded at London's Mayfair Studio and released in 2003, Twentysomething contains a mix of jazz standards, contemporary covers, and ballads. This was around the same time he voiced future-era DJ English Hughie in the 2005 business simulation PC game The Movies.
Due to the acoustic nature of the music, producer Stewart Levine chose to record and mix Twentysomething entirely on analogue tape.
The album includes jazz standards "What a Diff'rence a Day Made", "Singin' in the Rain", and Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick out of You", modern takes on My Fair Lady's "I Could Have Danced All Night", Jeff Buckley’s "Lover, You Should Have Come Over", and Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary", as well as new tracks written by Cullum and his brother Ben, including the first single from the album All At Sea and the title track "Twentysomething".
Catching Tales has been released on double vinyl, as was the first single, "Get Your Way". A limited edition version of the "Get Your Way" single was released on red vinyl.
Cullum toured in support of Catching Tales from the end of October 2005 to December 2006.
On 4 June 2009, Cullum announced the title of his fourth studio album, The Pursuit. The album, which was released on 10 November 2009, was produced by Greg Wells, and the first single was "I'm All Over It", written with Deacon Blue frontman, Ricky Ross. The album was recorded at a Los Angeles studio, using songs that Cullum originally recorded at his Shepherd's Bush recording studio, Terrified Studios.
The Pursuit was recorded in a variety of places: Cullum's kitchen, a studio in L.A. and Terrified Studios (his own in Shepherd's Bush). Various musicians were also used in the recording process. Songs recorded in L.A. mostly used session musicians and sees Greg Wells and Cullum play various instrument including drums and bass. "Don't Stop The Music", the second single from the album (released as a download only in January 2010) was recorded with Chris Hill and Brad Webb.
From 2003 to 2008, Cullum played consistently with Geoff Gascoyne on bass, and Sebastiaan de Krom on drums. From 2003 until 2004 the trio was joined by Ben Castle on saxophone, John Hoare on trumpet, Barnaby Dickinson on trombone and Malcolm MacFarlane on guitar.
Sam Wedgwood (guitarist, bassist and trumpeter) later joined Cullum on tour, for a little over a year. At the end of 2005 Cullum was joined by Tom Richards (saxophonist, occasional guitarist and percussion). Soon after that Sam Wedgwood left to pursue his own solo musical career. At the beginning of 2006 Rory Simmons (trumpeter and guitarist) joined the band as a replacement, bringing the total number of band members (including Cullum himself) to five.
In late 2009 Cullum replaced Geoff Gascoyne (bass) and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums) with Chris Hill (bass) and Brad Webb (drums).
Jamie Cullum's album Momentum was released on 20 May 2013. In conjunction with the album, he performed six intimate gigs across Europe; the first was in London.
In an interview with NBHAP Cullum told that "Momentum" is about the crossover period from being a young man while having one foot in the adult world, and about the balance of childish fantasies with grand and epic responsibilities.
Interlude is an album consisting of jazz covers, released on 6 October 2014. Recorded with producer Benedic Lamdin of big band Nostalgia 77, and recorded in one take, the album was influenced by Cullum's BBC Radio 2 weekly jazz show. The duets on the album include two acts for which Cullum's radio show acted as a springboard for mainstream success: Laura Mvula featured on the track "Good Morning Heartache", and Gregory Porter on the lead single "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood".
Available in standard and deluxe versions, the latter including a DVD of Cullum's full performance at Jazz à Vienne, and an exclusive photo booklet containing tour and studio pictures.
To celebrate the launch of his first pure jazz album, Cullum played at several jazz clubs, including Blue Note Jazz Club in New York, and London's Ronnie Scott's.
In October 2014 Cullum was part of the 2014 BBC charity single for Children in Need, "God Only Knows". He appeared in the song video, in a hot air balloon, wearing a salmon-coloured Alexander McQueen suit.
On 30 April 2016 Cullum played at The White House in Washington, D.C., as part of the International Jazz Day Global Concert.
In February 2017 Cullum announced he was working on his next studio album Taller, following the release of its first single "Work of Art" on 17 February. The album's title track was released as a single on 3 May 2019. Ahead of the album release, two additional songs were made available on streaming services: "Drink" on 8 May and "The Age of Anxiety" on 31 May. The single "Work of Art" was removed from the standard edition of the album and moved to the deluxe edition. The album was released, on 7 June 2019, to positive reviews.
The British Jazz Awards recognised Cullum's growing success by awarding him the "Rising Star" award, at the 2003 ceremony in July. At the 2004 BRIT Awards, Cullum was nominated in the "British Breakthrough Act" category. He performed live in the ceremony at Earl's Court, a duet with Katie Melua of The Cure's "The Lovecats". In the 2005 BRIT Awards, Cullum was nominated for two awards: "Best Male Artist" and "Best Live Act". In 2005 Cullum was nominated for a Grammy while taking BBC Radio 2 "Artist of the Year" honours at the BBC Jazz Awards (as voted for by listeners of Radio 2). In 2007 Cullum won the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club Award for "Best British Male". He was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for his composition Gran Torino for the Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino. At the Jazz FM awards 2013, he was a nominee for UK Jazz Artist of the Year.
Cullum's early music career saw him playing three or four times a week at PizzaExpress's restaurants throughout London, gaining exposure and later his big break with Universal. In 2011 the "Pizza Express Big Audition with Jamie Cullum" competition gave singers, songwriters and musicians a platform and a chance to win a £5,000 prize and a residency at the restaurant chain's Dean Street Jazz Club. 7,500 acts entered the competition and the final, which was held at the Addison's Rooms in Kensington on 23 November, was judged by Cullum, Michael Parkinson, M People's Heather Small and other music critics. The winning act was Offbeat South, an urban group of 18- to 21-year-olds from Croydon. The other finalists were Andy Lewis, Elle Watson, Palms 13 and The Yesberger Band.
Cullum married former model Sophie Dahl in a private ceremony in Hampshire on 9 January 2010. The two reside in the small town of Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, where Sophie's grandfather Roald Dahl lived for the second half of his life. Their daughter, Lyra, was born on 2 March 2011 and their second daughter was born in 2013.
In 2011, a portrait of Cullum, painted by British artist Joe Simpson, was exhibited around the UK, including a solo exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall.
Cullum was the guest for BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 25 March 2012. His choices included The Lamb by John Tavener, and "Concerning the UFO Sighting near Highland Illinois" by Sufjan Stevens. His favourite was "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" by Randy Newman.