October 24, 2005 12:00 PM

Catching Tales

On Twentysomething, his smoky—and smoking—U.S. debut, 26-year-old jazz-pop crooner Jamie Cullum showed his generation that their grandparents’ music could be cool. On this swinging follow-up, the old-school piano man continues to put a fresh new spin on the classic cabaret style of the Sinatra set. While on Twentysomething he was more of a standards torch bearer who was also capable of remaking Radiohead and Pharrell, Cullum devotes the bulk of Catching Tales to telling his own stories. On the airy “London Skies,” the British star finds some beauty in the famously gray weather of the town he calls home, while taking aim at self-help charlatans on the cheeky ballad “7 Days to Change Your Life”: “I’ve been there myself, sad, fat and bald/ But soon with my help, you’ll have it all.” Cullum continues to display genre-bending gusto, going from the funky strut of the hip-hop-inflected “Get Your Way” to the lush, old-fashioned romanticism of the Jimmy Dorsey-Paul Madeira tune “I’m Glad There Is You,” which coaxes out his most heartfelt vocal.



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