Review: Jamie Cullum at Portsmouth Guildhall

Jamie Cullum
Jamie Cullum
Portsmouth Philharmonia players following their concert to raise funds for Hayling Island Community Centre

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I must confess that the last jazz gig I went to was Courtney Pine at Portsmouth Poly in 1984.

Back then it was all black tie and everlasting clarinet solos. But Jamie Cullum’s show couldn’t have been more different.

The 34-year-old bounded on stage like an excitable puppy. He still looked like a precocious teenager and was dressed in a blue T-shirt, black jeans and trainers with a mop of black hair.

Taking centre stage behind a snare drum (of all things), he hammered out a burundi drum to warm everyone up. Soon he was doing his trademark leap off the piano before he settled down to show what a fine singer and pianist he undoubtedly is.

But it’s the showman in Jamie Cullum that took over and the audience were on their feet, singing and clapping along.

It felt like the the Guildhall had turned into a spiritual church (quite appropriate for a Sunday night) and When I Get Famous from his new album Momentum not surprisingly got a standing ovation.

Jamie finally invited the audience out of their seats and down to the front as his excellent band set up for a rousing version of Twenty Something.

Jamie has done more than anyone in recent years to raise the profile of jazz and, after Sunday’s exuberant show, long may it continue.