Being a dad has changed Jamie
Princess Theatre, Torquay, Wednesday
Jamie Cullum's most recent album, Momentum, is, without doubt, his best yet. It's because, for the first time, he has penned practically all of the tracks himself, which is perhaps puzzling given that it's his sixth studio offering, that he's now the wrong side of 30 and that he has happily settled into married life – with cookery writer Sophie Dahl – and fatherhood.
Having experimented with everything from rock to hip hop in his teens, he had the freedom in his 20s to rip up the jazz rule book and rework classic rock tracks as well as jazz standards, becoming the biggest selling British jazz artist in the process.
So you would think he might already have produced his most exciting work. But it's only after creating Momentum that Jamie can say, hand on heart, "for the first time, I've started to think of myself in terms of someone who creates stuff for a living."
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Ironically, it's becoming the father of two girls that has helped make it happen. "The great thing about kids is that you have to go with it when they need you," he explains, "so you have a lot less time to yourself, much less to spend on stupid, irrelevant stuff.
"Which means that when you do get time in the studio you really have to focus on the job in hand.
"When I started, I just couldn't stop – 10 new songs appeared in a short space of time."
He had created his own momentum, hence the album title.
The result is a fabulous collection of uplifting alt-pop anthems with songs like Edge of Something and The Same Things dispensing epic widescreen soundscapes, featuring edgy electric organ arrangements instead of the usual jazzy piano.
When it comes to the live show, however, Jamie's mature responsible self takes a firm back seat and he's still just as likely to bound around the auditorium and run (literally) up and down the piano keyboard.
"I feel like a giddy child with the possibilities of what to do on stage, there are absolutely no boundaries. There's no set list so anything goes and it's a different show every night."