A somewhat Christmassy, and overall very enjoyable, new Jamie Cullum album

Christmas Music

You may not have noticed with all the Covid business going on right now, that we’re only 4 weeks away from Christmas.

I know my readers in North America first have to figure out how to best manage Thanksgiving and family in a Global pandemic next week, we in Europe have the same dilemma some weeks later.

But that’s enough of Covid gloom, you are reading enough about this elsewhere. Let’s go to the fun part (at least to me) of the season: Christmas music.

Regular readers will know that I’m not religious, but I still love the season very much for the feel, the lights, and the atmosphere.

I’ve previously shared some Christmas albums on this blog, be it in classical music (see here, here and here for example, or click on “seasonal music” in the category menu of this blog), or if you prefer the Jazz side of things, check out the posts here and here).

Jamie Cullum

I haven’t written about Jamie Cullum yet on my blog (he’s featured on the Jazz Loves Disney album featured here), but this is mainly because I haven’t listened to him in a while.

I actually really enjoy his style. I was complaining in my review of the recent Diana Krall album that I found it a bit too easy listening.

Jamie Cullum is in many ways easy listening. He’s also very much borderline jazz. But nevertheless, I find his mix of original songs, some nice swing, the occasional pop ballad really quite enjoyable.

Jamie Cullum – The Pianoman at Christmas

Jamie Cullum The Pianoman at Christmas 24/48 Island Records

So, is this a Christmas or a Jazz album?

Actually, neither to my ears.

The Christmas element really comes mainly from the lyrics, and yes there’s the occasional “jingle bells” vibe. But mostly, this is well done songwriting. So if you’re looking for yet another version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside, look else where (here for example)

And Jazz? Well, some tracks sound somewhat jazzy. But mostly, this is classical “piano man” pop, presumably inspired by Billy Joel or Elton John. And some songs, like Turn On The Lights, could nearly come straight out of a new Coldplay album (did I really just write this? Sorry….)

But who cares, most of all this is enjoyable music, that you can play even right now, without having a Jingle Bells overdose by the time you actually get to Christmas.

My favorite song is probably the title track, The Pianoman at Christmas, a beautiful, quite sentimental ballad. Yes, it’s cheesy, but isn’t that kind of the whole point of contemporary seasonal music? I guess we all need a bit of (tasteful) schmaltziness after this somewhat crazy 2020, don’t we?

P.S. I really love the cover, with the grainy analog film-type picture, and the retro “stereo” logo. Just spot-on.

My rating: 4 stars

You can find it here (Qobuz)

Author: Musicophile

I'm not a professional musician, I don't work in the music industry, I'm just what the name says, somebody who loves music. I've been in love with music for all of my life, took piano lessons for nearly 10 years, and played in several amateur Jazz groups. I go to concerts, both classical and Jazz, quite regularly. And I collect music previously on vinyl and CDs, now on my computer, and am slightly OCD on my music collection. You can reach me at Musicophile1(AT)gmail.com

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