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Posted on May 2nd, 2014, by

The final third music review is a review of a live jazz concert. The event that will be reviewed is the live concert of Jamie Callum and Imelda Ma that was held in New York in March 2010.

I have visited this performance in March 2010 that took place in New York and was amazed by the Jamie Callum who actually represents the new generation of jazz musicians and who is known as a performer capable of delivering constant surprises.

In accordance to the article Jamie Cullum and All That Jazz’ (7) Cullum is one of the very few modern jazz artists to have a relevancy in the 21st century, and he has the ability to compose contemporary material, cover old classics and reinterpret modern songs in his own inimitable style. Therefore I consider Jamie Cullum is an appropriate subject for the present review.

Jamie Callum is a young person, but despite his age, but he manages to build really close relationship with his audience through his drive and performance energy, and involves it audience into his performance. It has to be indicated that the improvisation is the one of the strongest sides of Jamie’s performance and these innovative and creative abilities of Jamie remind other great jazz musicians, for instance, Dizzy Gillespie who also was also known for his great improvisations.  As for Jamie Callum, the roots of his improvisations obviously may be defined as jazz but his performance is not solely jazz music, it’s rather a mix of musical genres.

As for the band that supports Jamie’s performance, I have noticed the bassist, the drummer, the saxophonist and another musician who plays on trumpet and guitar

Jamie Callum’s show in 2010 was dedicated to the launch of his third album, The Pursuit. Beside his own songs, Jamie sings the songs of other artists but he approaches them very creatively and does it as a jazz musician. Walters (36) claims Jamie Callum dissolves the distinctions between cabaret and contemporary pop.

If I Ruled the World’ is a song performed by Jamie and it represents his classical approach to jazz. It is soulful encore that sets real, raw emotional emphasis. In addition, the music is enriched by Jamie Callum’s commanding stage presence and clear disregard for the common rules for musicians’ stage presence.

In my opinion, If I Ruled the World’ is a superlative display of this artist’s instrumental virtuosity. Jamie’s piano solo at the beginning of the song is outstanding and has a large proportion of improvisation. Besides, it needs to be noted that the freedom and driving swing the instruments playing in the ensemble sections give If I Ruled the World’ passages support feeling of solo improvisation.

The song is built in a form of follow-the-leader, alternating solos, because Jamie’s piano solo starts first and then it is supported by the drums, and later other instruments follow them. The harmony is excellent. Each musician picks up on the ideas just played by the other and forges ahead with an almost seamless connection to the preceding section. Throughout, Jamie’s piano punctuates, drives, and syncopates in the background, and from time to time Jamie performs a powerful solo of his own. The piano is in the spotlight of If I Ruled the World’.

Holden (n.a.) argues that If I Ruled the World’ is a stale ’60s show tune from the flop musical Pickwick that he said he discovered on a Tony Bennett record. It is more of a minimalist composition and within the limits of the style. The tune of this performance was a sparse, gap-fill melody. This performance is essentially a combination of few free-floating musical lines (I am sure alto, bass, and drums that were used) playing independently but reacting to each other.

If I Ruled the World’ is performed by Jamie Callum in the traditional (even conservative) jazz mannera head followed by a series of improvisations and ending with a recapitulation of the beginning

The instrumental performance is rooted in the perfection of technique and the employment of traditional playing methods: the overall tone of performance is influenced by Miles Davis, a trumpet approach related to that of Louis Armstrong, piano playing with elements of Thelonious Monk, drumming influences aren’t obvious because it is not been used intensively in the discussed song, and bass performance that follows the principles of Jimmy Blanton.

Jamie Callum is a modern virtuoso of the first rank, and it’s important that his playing extends beyond the technique, pleasant tone, total control, and flawless improvisations that at first amaze and then awe the listeners.

Jamie Callum should be appreciated because he brings something new to the modern jazz and in some cases he returns to principles of the previous decades in the development of jazz music: acoustic playing, harmonic and modal improvisation, thematic development, and rhythmic swing. Jamie Callum has demonstrated, better than any of his contemporaries, that the neoclassical approach of live performance on standard instruments in tonal frameworks not only provides a viable option for jazz musicians but also leaves room for growth and expansion.

A conclusion could be made that the Cullum may be defined as a jazz musician, but he is known for his outstanding performances in a wide range of styles.

Therefore, Jamie Callum may be called a “crossover” artist that represents modern jazz and whose performances full of improvisations and influenced by Miles Davis.

Another interesting fact that could be mentioned in the context of likeliness of these two musicians is that unlike Miles Davis, who never established a reputation as a dazzling improviser at fast tempos, Cullum plays brilliantly even fast melodies, inventing interesting running and experimenting with intervals, timbre, and pitch. But clearly, like Miles Davis, Cullum creates a performance that not merely a succession of notes, even at this fast tempo he creates a tapestry of sounds.

 

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