×

Jamie Cullum

There's a new voice in town: Britain's 24-year-old Jamie Cullum, a singer and pianist who looks like a young James Cagney, but possesses the unleashed energy of Mick Jagger. In his Stateside debut at the Oak Room, Cullum serves standards from Lerner & Loewe, Cole Porter and George Gershwin, but Jimi Hendrix and Radiohead can also be heard bouncing off the walls of the venerable cabaret.

With:
Musicians: Geoff Gascoyne, Sebastiaan deKrom.

There’s a new voice in town: Britain’s 24-year-old Jamie Cullum, a singer and pianist who looks like a young James Cagney, but possesses the unleashed energy of Mick Jagger. In his Stateside debut at the Oak Room, Cullum serves standards from Lerner & Loewe, Cole Porter and George Gershwin, but Jimi Hendrix and Radiohead can also be heard bouncing off the walls of the venerable cabaret.

Cullum, a self-taught pianist, uses the wood surface of the piano lid as a bongo drum for rhythmic excursions, and pounds the keys with an aggressive percussive approach.

His keyboard solos are not particularly interesting, but explosive energy fuels his presentation. While he lacks the subtlety and grace of cabaret’s newest young star, Peter Cincotti, he makes up for it with spirit and drive.

Cullum’s mellow baritone is pleasant when he avoids the upper register. A buoyantly vigorous “It Ain’t Necessarily So” is a feature from his Candid CD “Pointless Nostalgia,” and the arrangement does seem rather pointless. The singer also gets a little too careless with the E.Y. Harburg lyric for Burton Lane’s “Old Devil Moon,” but the accompaniment of Geoff Gascoyne’s tasteful bass lines served him well. (Universal-Verve has signed Cullum to a $1.5 million recording contract.)

A nod to mentor Harry Connick finds Cullum in a mellow mood with “It Had to Be You,” and his punchy take on “I Get a Kick Out of You” includes some familiar vocal references that were trademarks of Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Cullum is at his best with a quiet torch song. Oscar Levant’s most distinctive and lasting ballad, “Blame It on My Youth,” is perhaps the most restrained offering. He also has a knockout turn with his encore, “But for Now,” a haunting ballad by Bob Dorough.

Reminding patrons that much of “My Fair Lady” was penned upstairs at the Algonquin, Cullum’s wrap-up was an impressively swinging “On the Street Where You Live.”

Bass and drums provide a strong assist, but the latter are often a tad bombastic for the small venue, and listeners in one corner of the room were often engulfed in a barrage of pounding paradiddles.

Jamie Cullum

Oak Room, Algonquin Hotel; 85 capacity; $50

Production: Presented inhouse. Opened, reviewed Sept. 30.

Cast: Musicians: Geoff Gascoyne, Sebastiaan deKrom.

More Music

  • Streaming Powers U.S. Latin Music Market

    Streaming Powers U.S. Latin Music Market to 18% Growth

    The U.S. Latin music business experienced its second year of double-digit growth in 2018, driven almost entirely by streaming, according to the RIAA’s year-end report. The Latin market grew 18% in 2018 to $413 million, driven by a nearly 50% growth in revenues from paid subscriptions, the report says. Streaming formats made up a whopping [...]

  • Ranking Roger of The BeatThe Beat

    Ranking Roger, of English Beat and General Public, Dies at 56

    Roger Charlery, aka Ranking Roger, the singer and toaster from the English Beat, General Public and Special Beat, died today after a battle with cancer, a rep for the band confirmed to Variety. He was 56. The group, which has existed in several different forms over the years, issued a statement on its social media [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D14-5180.raf

    The Sexist Metal Scene in 'The Dirt' Is Painfully Accurate, Say Veteran Female Execs

    UPDATED: The fallout from Friday’s premiere of Netflix’s few-holds-barred Motley Crue biopic, “The Dirt,” began even before the film, which focuses on the quartet’s ‘80s-‘90s decade of decadence, was released. The group’s ill treatment of many women in their orbit is a matter of public record, and is depicted both seriously and unsettlingly light-heartedly in [...]

  • BMG Posts Strong Earnings for 2018

    BMG Posts Strong Earnings for 2018

    BMG announced solid earnings for 2018 — its tenth year since the “new” BMG opened for business after its previous incarnation merged with Sony Music — as part of parent company Bertlesmann’s results Tuesday. According to the announcement, despite “negative exchange rate effects,” BMG’s revenues increased by 7.5 percent to €545 million (around $644 million), [...]

  • Rahm Emanuel

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Calls Jussie Smollett Deal a 'Whitewash of Justice'

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel blasted the decision by Cook County prosecutors to drop charges Tuesday against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. Flanked by Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Kevin Graham, the president of the Chicago police union, the mayor said the decision sends a message that high-profile people will not be held accountable for their [...]

  • Grammy Awards60th Annual Grammy Awards, Press

    Grammy Eligibility Year to Close One Month Early for 2020 Awards

    The eligibility year for the 2020 Grammy Awards will close on Aug. 31, one month earlier than usual, the Recording Academy announced today in a letter to members. The change is due to next year’s telecast taking place on Jan. 26, around two weeks earlier than usual (although the 2018 awards took place on Jan. [...]

  • Post Malone wow video dancer

    Meet the 43-Year-Old Dancing Sensation From Post Malone's 'Wow' Video

    Mike Alancourt is here to dance his heart out, one Post Malone video at a time. The Florida native recently went viral thanks in no small part to his impressive moves. At 43 years old, he appears in the video for Post’s “Wow,” carrying the final third with his bearded, bellied routine. The video caught [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content