Jamie Cullum - These Are The Days / Frontin'
Million-pound deal with a record company and already the biggest selling UK jazz musician, Jamie Cullum is one of the latest and youngest stars of Radio 2 and the Parkinson show. Of course, so as not to look as though he's disappeared into the musical distance, Cullum has denied much of the hype that surrounds him but make no mistake, this is the sort of jazz that, like Norah Jones and Michael Bublé before him, will sell like the world has forgotten the honking free expression of John Coltrane and how forbidding jazz can be.
Of course, Jamie Cullum's brand of jazz is awfully easy on the ear and has recorded the type of music that drifted through a run of successful Sinatra albums from the fifties. Showing a devotion to the sounds of the era, Cullum's arrangements could have come out of any mainstream jazz record of the last fifty years but if These Are The Days lacks adventure, Frontin' sounds far from the easy-listening music that closes Parkinson. Instead, Frontin' with its upright bass, brushed drums and Cullum's own piano and available here in both long and short versions is the kind of smoky jazz that could be heard drifting out of Ronnie Scott's.
Boosted by a live version of High And Dry, the success of this AA-sided release could see Jamie Cullum becoming the Ricky Martin of jazz but so long as Radio 2 boosts both its own viewing figures and the sales of artists like Cullum, Jones and Bublé, teenage jazz is looking set to stay.