The Pursuit

Studio Album by released in 2009

The Pursuit review

Cullum sets an example

Jamie Cullum has that type of career that any of starting artists would be happy to have. In most cases, musicians either become popular instantly if they play what is traditional to play here and now or they become popular after long years of genius playing what is not in high demand or fashionable yet. Cullum is a standout artist who makes music with its roots deep in jazz and who, despite this fact, reached stardom where pop stars dwell, soon after turning twenty. His musical career seems to have jus begun, but he has already amassed several powerful albums in his personal discography. In 2009, Jamie released a studio album, The Pursuit, that became his first effort in the last four years. The track-listing of this record included both covers of popular songs by established performers and Cullum’s own material. Whichever category you choose, it should be very interesting for the musician continues experiments over his sound and always stores a surprise or two for his listeners. You may be sure that to date this is his most eclectic and experimental work.

The Pursuit: trial and error method

So, what has Jamie Cullum managed to produce for these four years? It is does not take a genius to understand that Just One of Those Things is a perfect song to break such a long pause with. Cullum is extremely good at making covers as their original versions obtain completely new features. For instance, the ballad Not While I’m Around that is presented here in quite a rude form due to the peculiar singing manner. The same tendency is observed in I Think I Love You that starts with unpleasant sounds of heavy breathing or something like that. Meanwhile, this is logically predetermined by the text of the song. One of the best numbers of the whole album is the cover of Rihanna’s Don't Stop The Music. This is the case when a pop-music hit turned into an excellent jazz composition that is unsurpassed in the role of the album closer. It is really difficult to find among the twelve songs of The Pursuit those that are significant failures. It could be that If I Ruled The World, and Mixtape are slightly weaker than the rest. The reason might be that Cullum went too far trying to combine jazz and disco, evidently bad matches here. We can easily forgive him for that because this is the very trial and error method that helped the musicians make such an astonishing progress.

A useful experiment

At first sight, everything is simple as one can say that The Pursuit is a jazz album from a very good jazz performer. However, the songs, whose original versions are easy to define stylistically, here are packed into jazz clothing and together form a new, yet unnamed, style. Perhaps, in terms of execution, The Pursuit is not on a par with Cullum’s most remarkable work, Twenty Something. This can be explained by the musician’s endeavor to diversify his music, and not a desire to demonstrate his jazz performing skills. The audience must have already seen it; and to keep the subject interesting, he stepped into a new zone that is not well researched yet. Working on the boarder with pop-music should not be an alarming signal here. Cullum needs pop-music compositions simply as raw material to process it into high quality jazz products. The Pursuit was necessary for him because only such experiments can show the right direction to go further. And we all know that this young man will actually go further.