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on 16 November 2002
There can be little doubt that the career of Jamie Cullum is one to watch. Appearances at numerous London venues since summer 2002 reflect the faith of backers and bookers in both his performance and his promise - and that includes two solo slots at the 606 Club in less than four months: a real accolade. Now this album, his first commercial outing but not his debut recording, gives a wider audience the chance of catching a rising wave, and the investment will be worth it. Cullum sings and plays the songs he selects, including his own sharp material, with a warm voice and a cool head for making even familiar material sound new again. He may become the leading British male vocal presence in jazz venues in the coming decade, in which case, in a few years' time, we'll be nostalgic for this early offering, but not pointlessly. Give it for Christmas.
What Cullum does best here is contemporary or recent material. With his brother, he contributes two new songs, including the title track, which put a useful new songwriter on the scene. The Radiohead "High and Dry" is a good cover as much for the more intimate arrangement for piano, bass and drums, as for Cullum's mellifluous vocals; it's easily susceptible to Cullum's light jazz take. On these tracks, his vocal influences (especially the sometimes distracting shadow of Harry Connick) are less pronounced and somehow you feel you are hearing the real McCoy. Here, as elsewhere, he's supported by players with whom his studio rapport is apparent; Geoff Gascoyne(bass)and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums) stand out in great company.
The album also has what makes the new crop of recordings by younger jazz vocalists so rewarding. (You see it with Ian Shaw, Claire Martin, Trudy Kerr, Liz Fletcher and others in Britain in whose company Cullum will belong.) The repertoire spans at least three generations - from Gershwin to Monk to Radiohead - and shows once again that contemporary jazz musicians care for and are immersed in today's well-written songs as well as their medium's sparkling back-catalogue. And Cullum treats the standards robustly, like a man who's lifted the musical bonnet on this one and seen what the melody can do. The Gershwins' "It ain't necessarily so" gets a sound going over, and so does the lovely Vernon Duke melody "I can't get started". On ballads, as much as when he's up tempo, he's not put off by the thumb prints of greater singers which cover the score. So he seeks his own meaning in "In the wee small hours of the morning", not unduly deterred that Sinatra's sleepless eyes blinked heartachingly through this one 47 years ago.
What prevents me from adding a fifth star to what is a really accomplished recording are two reservations. The first is that to be really top-notch, his interpretations need greater depth - it would, for instance, have made a better job of Johnny Mandel's terrific "A time for love"; this track and Bob Dorough's now-oft-sung "Devil may care" (not Harry Warren's as stated on the sleeve) are a bit routine. And the second is that Cullum has, with his prodigious talent at 23, already reached a crossroad and the route he'll take is not entirely clear. One way is real, unique jazz quality to compete in time with, say, Kurt Elling's or Ian Shaw's; in the other lies that phenomenon where a great voice blunts its edge on mainstream commercial success. (Is this happening to Diana Krall?) The two seldom seem to co-exist, and there's a little bit here of that ambiguity. Jamie's own wry lyric declares "I want to be a popstar". I think his tongue was in his cheek.
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2004
This is the first dollup of Jazz from rising star Jamie Cullum. The young piano/vocalist has had huige success with his album Twentysomething, and after purchessing that album, I gave his debut a try.
I orginailly hated Jamie's music. It was to over the top for me and it took a while for me to start to like it. But then I did so this album came as a shock. Jamie's music on here is supurb. There is the famous voice on here with extatic backings and a mouth-watering selection of songs.
This album is alot better than his second. For anyone who liked the second album, will have their breath taken away because this is THE stuff!
Frankly if i brought this album first, then "Twentysomething" I would have been disapointed in his second!
Undoubtably the most stunning stack on this album is "In the Wee small hours of the morning". This song has the power to reduce me to tears. It is a supurb arrangement by Jamie, with a gourgus brass arrangement as an introduction, and a supurb instrumental in the middle. And Jamie's vocals on here is something to be written about- it is perfect- its like a flake in your "99"- all well and good without it but so much better with! This song is beautiful with a capital B and is one of the best on the album.
The rest of the album is as shockingly amazing! The title track "Pointless Nostagic" is odd but is brillient. This really shows off Jamie's vocal skills-as well as his writing skills- as this is one of 2 songs on the album he has written. The other "I want to be a popstar" isn't quite as good- brillient Lyrics but weaker than "Pointless Nostalgic."
There are some brill upbeat songs on the album- which Jamie has made to be wonderful- such as "Well You Needn't" and "Looking good."
Another of the stunnig songs on the album is "High and Dry" which is the same sort of amazing "Pointless Nostalgic". This is another song which can make me cry (!) and is very emotinal and reflective.
All in all this album kicks some a**! This album won Jamie "Rising Star" award at the BBC Jazz Awards 2003 and he honestly deserved it.
For anyone, this CD is something to have- be you Jazz fans, Blues fans or Pop fans, becuase the album suits all. It is professional and classy, and is far better than any other Debut album I have ever heard.
Full Marks for Jamie- Good Man!
(You may also enjoy his album "Twentysomething" and the single "These are the days")
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on 23 March 2003
A year ago I bought the Robbie Williams old song compilation album (can't recall the title - "Swing while you're something") and I liked it. Not too heavy, a little tongue in cheek and easy listening.
Jamie Cullum's latest release now makes me realised that Robbie was just playing at being a grown up. With a combination of his own material and some clever adaptations of the great classics this is a superb album which demonstrates Jamie's mellow but strong and crisp voice. Always in control, each word is sung with meaning. A whole mix of Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and even a touch of Stevie Wonder.
Buy it NOW. I guarantee you'll be following this young man's meteoric rise in the coming months....
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on 1 May 2003
A fantastic and refreshing musical masterpiece! The talents of this young man have gone unnoticed for far too long he is a musical genius destined to go far. Pointless Nostalgic is a contemporary and distinctive album incorporating the best sounds of jazz with a modern twist. This album contains the perfect combination of up beat tracks and classic ballads plus an outstanding cover of Radioheads High and Dry, which just blew me away. Do not be without this album it is an absolute must for anyone’s C.D collection.
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on 11 December 2003
I never used to like jazz music before I listened to Jamie Cullum on Parkinson, like many others, I purchased this album, Poinltess Nostalgic and haven't looked back! Its groovy, jazzy tracks so easy to listen to and his melodic voice just adds even more to the already fantastic album!
Such an amazing album for a seriously talented pianist. Highly recommended.
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on 18 February 2005
Like many people I listened to this album after hearing (and adoring) 'Twentysomething'. And I was blown away. Jamie is a hugley talented young man who injects verve and enthusiasm into everything he sings, and this enthusiam shines through on this album.
It's always difficult to pick a stand-out track, but on this album if I had to pick two they would probably be 'In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning' and 'I Can't Get Started'. Both utterly beautiful songs that can move me to tears when I listen to them. But the rest of the album is equally stunning. He tackles covers and original material equally well.
Even if you're not a jazz fan I would seriously recommend this album.
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on 24 May 2003
This guy is on the verge of becoming very successful indeed!
If you enjoyed the simplicity and beauty of 'Norah Jones' last album you will love this album with a passion.
In my opinion he is simply the best modern male Jazz vocalist I have heard......and he's only 23 years old!!
His voice shows amazing maturity and depth. Surely it's not possible for someone who is so young to have so much talent.
The title track 'Pointless Nostalgic' (co-written by the man himself) is great. I'm certain from this track alone that there will be plenty more excellent songs in the pipeline.
Good luck to him. Not that he needs it.... he recently signed a very big record contract with a major label.
Expect BIG things!
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on 10 October 2002
A must for anyone interested in vocal jazz, particularly as there aren't too many male jazz vocalists around at the moment. Surrounded by some fine instrumentalists, Jamie is impressive to say the least. A stunning debut disc. Every track is noticeably original and musically rewarding, most notably his own compositions (of which there are 2 on the album). If you like this, go and see him live - it's even better.
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on 9 July 2004
As an impulse purchase following his performance at Glastonbury I was disappointed that the high energy, unpredictability and passion of those live performances hadn't crossed into the studio. Nevertheless this is a fabulous swinging jazz album guaranteed to get those toes tapping and fingers clicking!
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on 6 October 2002
Very encouraging early reviews. Jamie has worked hard to learn and develop his distinctive style.I believe and hope this will encourage a new and young generation of jazz enthusiasts .I also believe the mix of music on this CD is spot on in terms of its appeal to the "standards" fan and to the more commercial sounds of its original numbers. Great stuff !
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