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Jamie Cullum - Catching Tales

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 alike.

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 Harcourt's gruffness.

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 fore.

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.

Click here to find out more about Jamie Cullum!

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Track listing:
1. Get Your Way
2. London Skies
3. Photograph
4. I Only Have Eyes For You
5. Nothing I Do
6. Mind Trick
7. 21st Century Kid
8. I'm Glad There Is You
9. Oh God
10. Catch The Sun
11. 7 Days To Change Your Life
12. Our Day Will Come
13. Back To The Ground
14. Fascinating Rhythm
15. My Yard

Click here to find out more about Jamie Cullum!

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