An interesting debut album from Mr. Cullum. There are the usual takes on the standards which go down well though it has to be said Jamie’s own song writing is not quite the finished article on this album. The best track by far is his version of Radiohead’s High And Dry, Which was originally on their classic album, The Bends. Jamie C. puts his own mark all over it and it almost comes over like a new song, a quite fantastic cover-version. The album, however, has tracks that do sound quite ‘samey’ and the whole thing is not as slick and polished as his two subsequent ‘big label’ albums. Overall though, this is a really enjoyable collection which introduced us to the great potential that was soon going to bear fruit. It clocks in at fifty-five minutes long. A decent way to spend an hour.
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!
This album is even better than his post-record deal, highly-promoted (and very good!) hit Twentysomething. The album is jazzier, groovier and most of all I much prefer his voice. He sings the songs in a more simple way, he gives less effect to his intonation, and for me the result is far better - fresher, cleaner, and less apt to grate, as it sometimes does on his follow-up. His piano-playing is assured and inventive, his treatment of some old standards is innovative and will definitely get your toes tapping, and his backing band support him very well indeed.
This, the then 23-year-old Jamie Cullum's first album release in late 2002, has earned its place as a minor classic which can be played and listened to again and again.
The musical style is trad jazz, hence the title "Pointless Nostalgic." Cullum brings a fresh feel to many standards in the 20th century jazz canon including "It ain't necessarily so," "In the wee small hours of the morning" and the opener "You and the night and the music." Of the 13 numbers on the album, the majority are skilfully re-worked classics but interspersed with some contemporary numbers like Radiohead's "High and Dry" and Jamie's own ironic composition "I want to be a pop star".
All in all, little short of brilliant for a 23-year-old: a distinctive, confident, close to virtuoso performance, with a maturity of vocal delivery which belies his youthful exuberance and an obvious love for and mastery of his material. It's easy enough on the ear for repeated and frequent listening, and a good reminder of why Cullum has become respected as such a prodigious talent as his career has progressed.
Like many others, I suspect, I got this after the more recent, much-publicised "TwentySomething", and was pleasantly suprised because to my ears (as someone who is not a great lover of jazz) this is actually better by some distance. It sounds much more like how I imagine a good jazz album should sound. In fact it is more of a group performance, with saxes, bass and percussion given more solo attention, sometimes to the extent that you forget that the man supposedly in the spotlight is Jamie Cullum, piano and vocals. Jamie's voice sounds even more like a young Sinatra (or should that be Harry Connick Jr) on this set, and it sits well with most of the songs, notable exception being the guvnor's "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning"; it's all in the phrasing and Cullum doesn't have it - yet. Other than that the selection of songs, while generally safe, makes for enjoyable listening. The arrangements are Cullum's own (or bassist Geoff Gascoyne's) and eschew some of the more eccentric phrasings and odd gimmick tried out on the newer album. The two Cullum originals, more rock than jazz really, don't sound out of their league, and ditto his take on Radiohead's "High and Dry". Sound quality and production are excellent and this album deserves at least as much attention as its big-label successor. If only all jazz albums were this good.
Cullums first venture into the professional music industry started as a personal project, which was subsequently picked up by Candid records. In contrast to his later work this album has less pollished feel, and benefits greatly from this. 'It Ain't Necessarily So' in particular has a raw passion to it unrivaled in 'Twentysomething' and 'Catching Tales'. The real highlight of the album for me, was 'High and Dry' and for anyone who loves 'All At Sea', and 'Oh God' this song is a must.
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 !
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.
Who else could pull off such an entertaining and satisfying synthesis of rock and jazz? It's the different types of music I love brought together and reinterpreted by an unassuming, down-to-earth guy with a whole lot of talent and enthusiasm. He's as cool as your best mate, but sure knows how to play and sing. I read that he "discovered" jazz after noticing a Herbie Hancock sample on his DJ Shadow album, and I think that kind of tells the story. For those of us that are into Massive Attack as well as Ella Fitzgerald, and Jazzanova as well as Radiohead, this album (and the tracks I've heard from the new one) is refreshingly open-minded in its style and genre, taking elements (and songs) from different areas and bringing them together to form an original and unashamedly populist sound. Cullum spent a week this summer over here in Munich in a small jazz club, and I'm gutted that I missed him. I get the feeling that next time he comes it'll be a wee bit harder to get a ticket. But good luck to the guy. It's easy to knock him - as many jazz critics will - for being too mainstream and populist, yet he's clearly playing the music he loves (from Hendrix to Sinatra) in the styles that he loves (soulful ballads to funky piano solos). No harm in that, and if it brings the joy of jazz to a wider audience then all the better. Good one, mate.
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.