Jamie Cullum is Britain’s biggest selling jazz artist of all time. I was one of the millions seduced by his pop pixie looks and accessible white T-Shirts and jeans demeanour and I saw him live at Royal Albert Hall. He is a demon at the piano. He tickles, slams, bangs and creates runs like I’ve never seen before. But he also holds the quiet in the palm of the audience, inhabits the sound. His new album Momentum is perhaps a bit more poppy than his previous efforts. If you listen carefully you can hear a little Coldplay here, a bit of Rhianna there (“Save Your Soul” has a definite Rhianna-esque eh-eh-eh moment) and even some Ed Sheeran troubadour confessionals at the guitar. But tagged at the end are the real bread and butter of Jamie’s craft, the heart and soul of Momentum, the live Abbey Road sessions. This is my Sunday evenings, kicking back with a glass of red in my hand. Old Cole Porter standard “Love For Sale” travels with a “The Way You Make Me Feel” (Michael Jackson) groove. “Pure Imagination” is a slow dance in the middle of the room. “Sad, Sad World” brings in the beautiful Laura Mvula and my hands involuntarily conduct an invisible emotion. When Jamie hits the “let it fall” notes I notice recoiling back, almost pushing away from the power. The most compelling music has a physical reaction.
When the heat finally hits, it erases everything. It wipes away the past, it cares nothing for the future. All it does is simmers in the daylight and breathes in the nightfall. When it finally breaks, you forget its unrelenting grip as soon as its gone. As if you did not seek shade in the afternoon flare, or toss and turn in the velvet small hours of the morning. Only those of us who live in the Northern hemisphere romanticise our few sultry days of summer. And when autumn becomes the fall, we pray for a few more hot spells before winter takes over our lives. So, this autumn when life turns very black and grey, I will remember a gentle breeze over Waterloo Bridge and a city that reflected technicolour in its Olympic haze. And people smiled. Those of you who have not lived in London, may not realize how rare that can be. In my mind, this summer sounds like Melody Gardot’s “Mira”, dripping in honey and caipirinha’s, swaying to the bossa nova rhythm of heatwave afternoons. If only for a few precious days this year.