© McVirn Etienne Photography

Jamie Cullum

United Kingdom Jazz, Pop

Normally, jazz artists don’t sell ten million albums in their careers. Jamie Cullum has managed to do so and has become the most successful jazz musician in Great Britain. Cullum owes his unrivalled success to the entertainment gene he possesses – a quality e.g. Robbie Williams is also blessed with. He’s not sitting decorously behind his grand piano but rather likes to use this black monster as a gym apparatus and a take-off board for long jumps towards centre stage.

His audience really enjoys his rather exalted show behaviour, and this in turn is what Jamie Cullum wants himself: Fun! He is running around on stage, he encourages the audience to clap and sing along, and he is joking with his fans. But having him pegged merely as a musical clown would do him wrong. He’s an adapted pianist and singer who is able to interpret new standards without effort, and he knows how to supply ballads with new tension. And he’s also able to swing in a laid-back way, just like the great crooners of swing. A critic once called him the “Sinatra in Sneakers” – which is quite fitting.

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