I like to think that I have an eclectic taste in music. I can enjoy the works from such variable musicians as Miles Davis, Culture Club, Pearl Jam, Tchaikovsky, Eminem, and many, many others. I also like to think that I have a discerning taste in music as it has been difficult for me to get into much of the modern artists that are taking the world by storm like Lady Gaga, Kesha, and Miley Cyrus. I have attended numerous great concerts of noted veterans in the music industry. My two favorite concerts that I've ever been to are of the same person.
Jamie Cullum is not a household name in the United States. He may be in England, however, where he is originally from and seems to have a wide, devoted following. His latest album was released in the UK four months before it appeared here in the states. His music might be characterized as jazz/pop though it's difficult to pinpoint specifically. He is a multi-instrumentalist though he spends most of his time at the piano. His vocal style calls to mind Harry Connick Jr. but with a rougher, gritty edge.
I have been a fan of his for the last seven years and finally got to see him perform live in 2006. I was in awe of his show and knew that if I ever had the chance I was going to see him again. That chance came again this summer as I just saw him last week. I went with my wife who had never seen him before but is also a huge fan, and two other friends. As he walked out on stage the audience immediately erupted in joyful and applause even though he had yet to sing or play a single note. It was nice to know that even in a somewhat small venue in north Texas he had fans that were as enthusiastic as me. His band consisted of a set drummer, bass player, trumpet/guitarist, and tenor sax/keyboardist with Jamie on piano. He started the set with a new tune called "I'm All Over It" and the first sound that came out from his voice put a smile on my face that didn't leave for the at least the next two hours. His set list had a nice variety of tunes from the various albums he's recorded over the years. It was a perfect blend of fast, get up and dance type songs like "Get Your Way", poignant, mellow pieces like "Photograph" and others that lie in between like a sultry cover of "Please Don't Stop the Music" which in my eyes is a vast improvement from the original. He came out for an encore and did a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Wind Cries Mary" and his original ballad "Gran Torino" that he wrote for the motion picture and which was nominated for a Golden Globe. He stands at only about 5'6" and weighs no more than 125 but his stage presence is enormous. He truly grabs the members of his audience and takes them on a musical adventure that they will probably not experience the likes of very often. Even when he just talked between tunes his charisma made him seem like the kind of guy you could chill with have a meaningful conversation. The concert was just unbelievable and my description does not come even close to giving it what it's due. My wife said it was the best concert she's ever been to hands down.
After the concert we found his tour bus and waited with a small group of people for 45 minutes to an hour with just a hope that we could see him and possibly get an autograph. When he finally emerged from a back door of the theater he seemed happy to greet his fans and spend a little time with us. We got his autograph, picture with him, had a little conversation, and he even kissed my wife's cheek, which I guess is standard practice where he's from. She raved about getting kissed by Jamie Cullum all the way home. If you are not familiar with Jamie I implore you to check out his work and I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you ever get the chance to catch one his shows don't even give it a second thought, just buy the tickets immediately. You will be in for a phenomenal musical experience.