Jamie Cullum Rocks the Hollywood Bowl
Jamie Cullum, one of the best-selling British jazz artists, a veritable bundle of energy, brought his unique talents to the Hollywood Bowl. This song writer, singer, multi-instrumentalist is also a charming young man who embraces his audience with his wit and a natural warmth. He doesn’t just sing, he dances and moves and rarely settles down. He gave us an infectious, energetic evening of jazz in his debut performance. He shared the bill with the talented jazz song interpreter, Lisa Fisher and with the group Soulive. It was a potpourri evening of hot jazz on a cool evening, with something for everyone.
Lisa Fisher, known as a back-up singer for Sting, the Rolling Stones, Chris Botti, Tina Turner, Chaka Kahn, Luther Vandross, etc., opened the evening without fanfare. Many remember her from Morgan Neville’s 2013 documentary film, “Twenty Feet from Stardom” which was about all the wonderful backup singers in the industry. Fisher won a Grammy for her single “How Can I Ease the Pain?” in 1992. Barefoot, she quietly entered onstage and was resplendent in a multicolored beaded caftan that suited her fluid song style. She danced with undulated moves as she sang her songs and also did interpretive dance in between. Fisher does not just sing, she gives us song paintings with her wide-reaching range. There is a poetic grace about her and she transcends mere singing. She becomes the song and inhabits it. The stand out was, of course, a beautiful rendition of “How Can I Ease the Pain?” Her message is one of joy. She sang, “I want to sing my own song, that’s all-just another bird in this house and I’m trying to get out.” She performed with her trio of J. C. Maillard, musical director, arranger, guitar, SazBass, and back-up vocals; Thierry Arpino on drums and percussion, and Aidan Carroll on bass and back-up vocals. She will be performing with her new band, Grand Baton. Watch out, Lisa Fisher is stepping up and out.
Fisher was followed by a change of pace with the group, Soulive with Alan Evans on drums, Neal Evans on bass keys, D6 clavinet, and Hammond organ. This group was, as their name says, soul and alive. They bring hip-hop, R & B, blues, and rock. These guys jive! A stand out number was their interpretation of the Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby.” Trumpeter, Reshawn Ross joined the three and they wailed.
After intermission, there was this bundle of energy that illuminated and lit up the stage in Jamie Cullum. And, he has boundless energy. I think it reached clear to the bench seats way in the back row. The multi-talented Cullum is a singer, songwriter, music producer, record producer, musician and radio personality. He does vocals, piano, keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, and percussion. It was fascinating to see him standing and jumping on his Steinway, yikes, and also using the piano as a percussion instrument. Cullum’s band of musicians was: Tom Richards, sax, keys, vocals; Rory Simmons on guitar and trumpet; Loz Garratt on bass and vocals and Brad Webb on drums and vocals.
Cullum only had an afternoon rehearsal with the Philharmonic band, but they worked beautifully together. He used a Stompbox , which amplified the beat of his foot. He opened with “the Same Things,” ”Don’t let Me Be Misunderstood,” and moved into a memorable humorous song, “When I get Famous,” and a moving rendition of Randy Newman’s, “Losing You.” Cullum jumped down into the audience, danced and boogied. He was amazing as he improvised and gave prompts to the orchestra. “Give me a G, Hans Zimmer horn section.” He segued into “Amazing Grace,” and “Don’t Leave Me High and Dry.” I cannot imagine anyone leaving Jamie Cullum, British Jazz Wunderkind, high and dry. Not when he leaves us so alive and energized with his eclectic mix of jazz, hip-hop, blues, and standards.
There are still more wonderful summer musical evenings to enjoy at the Hollywood Bowl. Diana Krall, American Classics with Audra Mc Donald and American Ballet Theatre, Pink Martini, E. T., Gershwin and Berlioz, Fireworks Finale, ABBA: The Concert and more.
Call 323-850-2000 for tickets or go on line to www.hollywoodbowl.com There is ample parking if you drive to the Bowl, you can take a shuttle from various lots, park and ride, or the Metr