Blog

In Constant Pursuit
Jamie Cullum

Blog
In Constant Pursuit Jamie Cullum

12.07.2018

Article: Leyla Aksu
Illustration: Saydan Akşit  

Settling into the melodic space between jazz and pop with catching enthusiasm since his debut in 1999, British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jamie Cullum has since become the most successful jazz act in UK history. Known for his diverse covers and unexpected collaborations, as well as increasingly for his own compositions, Cullum’s career has delivered an influx of different styles over the course of his seven albums. Here we take a quick look at the artist’s life and music in his own words, before he brings his celebrated on-stage spontaneity to this year’s International Akbank Jazz Festival.

-An ardent and self-professed fan of all music, from pop and rock to jazz and hip-hop, all embraced within his own musical output, Cullum also hails from a musical family. Listing to a diverse array of artists from Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, and Wynton Marsalis to Tom Waits, DJ Shadow, and A Tribe Called Quest among his many influences, he still places his brother and frequent collaborator Ben Cullum at the top of the list: “It was really my brother Ben who made it a very musical house… and he taught me to be very open minded about all styles; there were no boundaries at all.”

-Taking part in a slew of bands throughout his younger years and playing guitar and drums in addition to the piano, Cullum began performing live with increasing frequency while still a student, releasing his successful debut with the Jamie Cullum Trio, Heart It All, at the age of 19. Following up with back-to-back releases Pointless Nostalgic for Universal in 2002 and the platinum-certified Twentysomething the following year, the latter saw Cullum claiming the title of best-selling jazz artist in the United Kingdom.

-Cullum then came out with 2005’s Catching Tales and 2009’s The Pursuit, by which point he was already highly recognized for his dynamic and lengthy performances across the world: “I’m not the greatest singer, and I don’t look like Justin Timberlake, but I think I can communicate on stage.” Standing at or even on his piano with nary a set list, Cullum has since taken the stage at countless festivals, performing alongside names like Kylie Minogue, Darren Emerson (Underworld), Corinne Bailey Rae, and Burt Bacharach.

-Releasing his sixth full-length, Momentum, a more pop-focused affair, in 2013 with producers Dan the Automator (Kasabian, Gorillaz), Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele), and Duncan Mills (Lamb, Malcolm McLaren), Cullum’s most recent release is 2014’s Interlude. Recorded live over the course of just three days and more heavily steeped in jazz, the album came together as “a celebration of…young, British, under-the-radar, shit-hot jazz musicians” that Cullum met through his ongoing radio show on which he has also hosted legends like Dave Brubeck, Ahmad Jamal, Paul McCartney, and Clint Eastwood--the latter with whom he collaborated on the film Grand Torino, earning a Golden Globe nomination in 2009.

-Easily navigating between jazz standards, covers of contemporary songs, and, increasingly, his own original pieces throughout his career, Cullum has always championed the versatility of jazz: "At first I didn't think certain songs had a place in what I was doing with this jazz music, but I've realized that everything does, and it reaffirms my belief that jazz is the greatest platform to do whatever you want. People ask why I play jazz, and it's because you can take it to so many different places."

-As such, over the years, his roster of adventurous covers has grown to include songs from artists as varied as the White Stripes, Massive Attack, Rihanna, Jimi Hendrix, Kanye West, Radiohead, Elton John, Gnarls Barkley, Joy Division, and John Legend. And even though “doing covers on new songs in a kind of crazy way is nothing particularly new…this is me trying to channel my understanding of Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Herbie Hancock with an understanding--and a love--of great modern pop.”

-However, currently finishing work on his soon-to-be-released eighth full-length, Cullum has said of the new album that he became aware “for the first time the lyrics have been born first, over the chords and the melodies. That is new for me--but it squares up with the idea of trying to communicate something over just musical cleverness of some kind.” Continually evolving almost twenty years after his initial debut, Cullum is sure to be up for the new chapter in his musical journey: “As a musician, you never get to the finish line. There are goals along the way, but you never finish it. It is this constant pursuit, one that I wake up every day wanting to get better at and wanting to make better music.”

You may also like

Follow Us
TR EN
Filter events by label
05 NOV MON
-
06 NOV TUE
2

18:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

19:00

A Taxi Driver

Akbank Sanat

07 NOV WED
2

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

19:00

Little Forest

Akbank Sanat

08 NOV THU
3

18:30

Benares Vaadleri

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

19:00

IFSAK 25th Istanbul Photography Days

Akbank Sanat

09 NOV FRI
3

18:30

Benares Vaadleri

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

19:00

IFSAK 25th Istanbul Photography Days

Akbank Sanat

10 NOV SAT
11

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Colorful Cups (For 6-14 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

11:30

Akbank Children's Theatre / Gorilla

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

13:00

I Am Designing My Own Bag (Ages 6 - 14 Years Old)

Akbank Sanat

14:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

15:30

Sculpture Hands & Arms(For 9-12 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

17:00

Mobile Sculptures

Akbank Sanat

17:00

Tai Chi ChuanEce Dündar Alp

Akbank Sanat

19:00

IFSAK 25th Istanbul Photography Days

Akbank Sanat

11 NOV SUN
-
12 NOV MON
1

18:00

Jazz on Campus Edirne Trakya University

Edirne Trakya Üniversitesi

13 NOV TUE
3

18:00

Jazz on CampusÇanakkale 18 Mart University

Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart Üniversitesi

18:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

19:00

The Witch: Part 1:The Subversion

Akbank Sanat

14 NOV WED
3

18:00

Neuroscience: Love and Artificial Intelligence

Akbank Sanat

18:00

Jazz on Campusİzmir Ege University

İzmir Ege Üniversitesi

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

15 NOV THU
4

18:00

Jazz on CampusMuğla Sıtkı Koçman University

Muğla Sıtkı Koçman Üniversitesi

18:30

Benares Vaadleri

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

19:00

Last Child

Akbank Sanat

16 NOV FRI
2

18:30

Benares Vaadleri

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

17 NOV SAT
3

11:00

Mini Mosaics Workshop (For 7 – 12 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

12:45

Toy Sculpture Workshop (For 7-12 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

19:00

IFSAK 25th Istanbul Photography Days

Akbank Sanat

18 NOV SUN
-
19 NOV MON
1

18:00

Jazz on CampusEskişehir Anadolu University

Anadolu Üniversitesi

20 NOV TUE
3

18:00

Jazz on CampusMiddle East Technical University

Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi

18:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

20:00

Song Hachul Quartet

Akbank Sanat

21 NOV WED
3

18:00

Kampüste Caz Kayseri Erciyes Üniversitesi

Kayseri Erciyes Üniversitesi

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

19:00

Dongju: Portrait of A Poet

Akbank Sanat

22 NOV THU
3

18:00

Jazz on CampusMersin University

Mersin Üniversitesi

18:30

“The Relationship between the Writing of Art History and the Nation-State”-Doç. Dr. Zeynep Yasa Yaman

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

23 NOV FRI
3

09:30

1st National Symposium of Cinema and Philosophy

Akbank Sanat

18:00

Jazz on CampusAdana Çukurova University

Adana Çukurova Üniversitesi

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

24 NOV SAT
6

09:30

1st National Symposium of Cinema and Philosophy

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

14:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

17:00

Tai Chi ChuanEce Dündar Alp

Akbank Sanat

25 NOV SUN
1

09:30

1st National Symposium of Cinema and Philosophy

Akbank Sanat

Add event to your calendar

Subscribe to Newsletter