The jazz scene is very civilised; Merlot and Pinot Noir are being sold by the bottle, men in suits are discussing the finer points of Cullum's contribution to jazz, ice cream and Maltesers are being served in the aisles and instead of the mosh pit there's the inner circle. However, don't let the formality fool you; Jamie bounds onto the stage in jeans and a t-shirt with a pair of pumps that don't stop tapping to the beat until the curtain goes down . . . yes, there's a curtain.
Cullum is a performer in every sense of the word. In true jazz style he rarely sticks to the original version of any track and takes time in-between songs to speak to the audience; regaling us with tales about his experience at The Brit Awards, his student days and being in Japan. The odd wisecrack is thrown in too; notably he comments that he's training his backing musicians to be the next Blazin' Squad (I guess you just had to be there). This approach not only raises a few laughs but also gives the gig a personal feel; we could all be sat in Jamie's front room with a few drinks and some ice cream (odd combination I know) whilst he chats away and plays some songs.
Cullum introduces some newer tracks among the old favourites, in particular a superb version of The Who's My Generation, which was originally pencilled in as the duet with Katie Melua at The Brits. There's also a recent song he wrote on tour called Don't Do Today What You Can Do Tomorrow. He performs the song on the guitar, claiming this was his first choice of instrument when he was younger, "because Nirvana never used a piano." There's nothing like an honest musician!
The highlight of the gig was most definitely the encore, a beautifully crafted medley of Radiohead's High And Dry blended seamlessly with Singin' In The Rain; an inspired version which for one of the only times tonight saw Cullum on his own without the band, gradually rising the tone then falling so quiet that he doesn't need the microphone over the still and haunting piano notes ringing through the hall.
:: Paul Newbold