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Jazz - Released November 8, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Eight albums already! About to turn forty, this gifted Englishman is back with Taller. The singer-songwriter from Essex relies on his faithful arranger and multi-instrumentalist Troy Miller to produce an opus that’s as concise as it is eclectic, clocking in at less than 40 minutes in length. In it, Cullum questions the responsibility of a father and an artist in our modern society. “Are you a man before your father dies?” / “But what’s a man these days? I hear you cry” / “And are we raising up our children right” on the piano/vocal song The Age Of Anxiety. The British artist showcases his outstanding versatility with gospel choirs in Mankindou Monster, stylish jazz in You Can’t Hide Away From Love, the funky Usher elevated by Tom Richards’ tenor saxophone, or adorned pop in Life Is Grey. This album’s main strength is its perfect balance, achieved through a lush yet never overcrowded orchestration of strings, winds, Hammond organ, and above all vocals – especially Cullum’s with his incredible range, but also female choirs. Perfect. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 8, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Jazz - Released November 8, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Pop - Released November 8, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Jazz - Released November 8, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Standing at roughly just over five feet, acclaimed singer and pianist Jamie Cullum has long suffered tiresome barbs regarding his stature. Those barbs unintentionally took on an added sting with Cullum's marriage to six-foot model and writer Sophie Dahl in 2010. None of this has anything to do with his music, except that as an insightful songwriter, he has often drawn inspiration from his own life, as he does on his eighth studio album, 2019's sophisticated and emotionally unguarded Taller. A reference to the height difference with Dahl, the album's title track is a soulful, old-school R&B groover in which Cullum transforms his literal desire to measure up to his wife into a metaphor for how falling in love can inspire you to be a better person. Showcasing Cullum's bright vocals framed by an earthy mix of strings and horns, the song sets the tone for the album's '70s singer/songwriter-influenced vibe. Cuts like the gospel-inflected "Mankind," the funky "Usher," and the minor-to-major key soul anthem "Monster" are all hooky, buoyant songs that bring to mind the classic AM pop style of Carole King, Elton John, and Billy Joel. As good as these robust productions are, Cullum is at his best when he keeps things pared down and jazzy, as on "You Can't Hide Away from Love," a poignant, deftly constructed ballad that could easily become a modern standard. Similarly, on "The Age of Anxiety," Cullum croons as if he's the last person at the bar, mulling over the future of the planet, concerns for his children, and his own middle-age unease as he finally returns to the comfort of his relationship, singing "Cause I hold onto you/And you hold onto me/A tiny victory in the age of anxiety." Taller is an album of both tiny victories and big anxieties that Cullum wraps in sweeping pop choruses, where the wryly intended puns are balanced by earnest, resonant emotion. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 8, 2019 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Jamie Cullum in the magazine