Jamie Cullum jazzes up Freshers’ Week

Fresher’s Week ‘09 ended with a bang in B-flat, when the Trinity Jazz Society and Players hosted jazz musician Jamie Cullum on Friday evening in Players Theatre.

Cullum was in Dublin to play at the celebrations for Arthur’s Day and made a flying visit to Trinity College Dublin en route out of the country. Introducing Cullum to the packed theatre, Oli Welfare of Trinity Jazz Society, praised Cullum for “revitalising the jazz scene, bringing people back to jazz,” and accredited a rise in popularity in neo-jazz to Cullum who “brought jazz to a new generation”. Cullum first came to public attention in 2007 after an appearance Parkinson to promote his second album, “Pointless Nostalgic”.

Cullum arrived twenty minutes late, wearing casual jeans and a navy cardigan, his pint sized stature disproportionate to his palpable stage presence and aura of “cool”. On arrival, he was presented with an inaugural honorary patronage of the Trinity Jazz Society which he said was “a great surprise and slightly surreal”. He admitted to be suffering from the “worst hangover of the year” after a night of “tremendous fun” celebrating the 250th Birthday of Guinness the previous evening. He said of Dublin and the College, “I love coming to your city and your university, your place of study is beautiful.”

Cullum opened with his own unique version of the jazz classic “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, including his stylistic foot tapping and a humorous change of the words to include contemporary references such as “facebook-stalking.”

He then moved onto a cover of Rihanna’s “Please Don’t Stop The Music”. He began with some acapella beat-boxing delivered from behind the piano, before drumming the entire piano and sitting down at the keys.
But the highlight of the evening for many was the blues in B-flat he set up, where members of the Trinity Jazz society got the opportunity to take to the stage and jam with him. Well-known Trinity musicians, Danny Forde and Pats O’Leary improvised with him at the piano, while singer Sallay Chandra Garnett and saxaphone player Peter Joyce took centre stage singing and playing the blues.

Cullum received a standing ovation from the audience, and encored with a cover of the Radiohead song, “High and Dry”. He managed to persuade the entire theatre to form a three-part backing chorus with him to bring the gig to a climactic close. Cullum later posted on his twitter page, “Thank you for my award Trinity Jazz Society. And thanks for joining me on the blues. I bet you guys have killer jam sessions.” Cullum is now putting the finishing touches to his much anticipated new album, which will be released this year.