Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jamie Cullum at the Zoo

Although primarily a jazz musician, Jamie Cullum performs in a wide range of styles and is generally regarded as a "crossover" artist with his musical roots firmly based in jazz.

He played last Sunday night at the Oregon Zoo's Summer concert series and he was AWESOME!

Since he hit the music scene over 10 years ago, the boyish pianist who can't read music, has become the biggest-selling UK jazz artist ever. Last November's release of 'The Pursuit', his fifth album and first new solo record in four years, is an eclectic combination of Jazz standards and catchy covers that Cullum has made his niche.

He hit the stage with a ton of energy and
entertained the casual zoo crowd for almost two hours.

Dressed in sneakers, jeans, shirt with a skinny tie and jacket, Cullum raced around the stage darting back and forth between an organ/synthesizer at center stage and his grand piano bench.

He opened the show with a simplistic and honestly raw version of George Gerswin's aria, "Summertime" then blasted right into the first song on his new album, "Just One Of Those Things".

A cover of Rihanna’s hit “Please Don’t Stop The Music” encouraged the crowd to dance and my favorite from the new album, Harry Seacombe/Tony Bennett’s “If I Ruled The World”, showed Cullum's great range and ability to turn a classic cover into his own. Equally as brillant, "I’m All Over It" also from his new CD, and "All At Sea", an earlier composition recalling his time as a cruise ship pianist, reminiscent of a young Billy Joel.

Cullum's grand finale, an interesting rendition of "Singing In The Rain" mixed in with yet another Rihanna hit, "Umbrella" which once again connected the generational crowd and my "new" favorite, Mix Tape which kept the crowd on it's feet.

5'3" dancing and singing on the piano

His final song, alone at the piano with dim stage lights, singing his theme from the movie Gran Torino, stripped down to a t-shirt, left the audience with a rare glimpse of a performer with great musical depth that will (hopefully) be around for years to come. Catch him next time he is in your area....I know I will.

Kiwi, Gin Wigmore opened the show. She's an artist I'll definitely be exploring more. A cross between Adele, KT Tunstall and Brandi Carlile. The crowd really seemed to appreciate her raw, engaging performance.