Review: Jack Foley
JAZZ sensation Jamie Cullum says of his latest album, Catching
Tales: "It's a better representation of what I am and
what I want to be as a musician. I wanted the music to do more
of the talking this time rather than having to explain it."
He adds: "At first, I didn't think certain songs had a place
in what I was doing with this jazz music but I've realised that
everything does and it reaffirms by belief that jazz is the greatest
platform to do whatever you want.
"People ask why I play jazz and it's because you can take
it to so many different places. You can embrace dance music, rock,
pop, classical, funk and everything... and I touch on all those
things in this record."
It's a bold statement but one which is effectively achieved throughout
the album for Catching Tales is, at the end of the day,
something that can be enjoyed by jazz fans and the uninitiated
It combines moments of out and out jazz with some more chart-friendly
stuff, while also tossing in the odd cover version and sprinkling
it with tasters of other genres.
It's an ambitious undertaking but one which ideally suits the
praise surrounding Mr Cullum - who has stepped up to the challenge
of creating a sophomore effort in spectacular fashion.
Opening track and lead single, Get Your Way, is an excellent
case in point, having been co-written with renowned hip-hop DJ
and Gorillaz member, Dan The Automator.
The result is a lively blend of jazz, restrained hip-hop and
funky feel-good rhythm. It's got the trademark sanguin vocals,
of course, but there is something more urgent and hip surrounding
it that might catch the jazz sceptics by surprise.
Likewise, Back To The Ground, which features a collaboration
with Ed Harcourt and which offsets Cullum's sanguin style with
It's one of Cullum's personal favourites and you can tell from
the extended piano workouts (which occasionally hint at the coolness
of David Holmes) that he had fun recording it.
Of the cover versions, Cullum gets to honour one of his favourite
bands with a rousing version of The Doves' Catch The Sun,
while Fasincating Rhythm gets a lively jazz workout during
which Cullum really allows his music to do the talking.
Of the jazz classics that the artist revisits, I Only Have
Eyes For You stands out, mixing a welcome familiarity with
Cullum's own special style.
While further album highlights arrive in the form of the upbeat
and hip Our Day Will Come and the similarly energetic
London Skies, when Cullum's own reflections come to the
Catching Tales is an accomplished effort that ought
to put the sceptics in their place while, quite possibly, extending
jazz's reach to a wider fanbase.
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