- 22 Jan 20
Jazz superstar Jamie Cullum talks about his favourite Xmas songs with Selina Juengling.
Jamie Cullum couldn’t have escaped the Christmas spirit this year even if he wanted to. Not only did he release two Christmas songs as part of the extended version of his latest album Taller, he also features on Robbie Williams’ album, The Christmas Present.
Strangely enough, they recorded the jazzy version of Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ back in March, a decidedly un-festive time of the year. According to Cullum, though, sleigh bells do immediately create a festive atmosphere.
“As soon as you hear sleigh bells on a track,” he notes, “you’re immediately transported to Christmas. That’s the power of music, you see.”
The jazz-pop maestro says he’s a big fan of festive tunes, partly because people seem to be more open towards a unique kind of songwriting during the Yuletide season.
“It’s a good time of the year to sneak in some clever chords and changes,” he says. “Everyone seems ready for it around Christmas time.”
A good example is ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’, the Mel Tormé version of which is Cullum’s favourite Yuletide song.
“I think it’s a beautifully constructed song with gorgeous chords,” he raves. “What’s lovely about it is that everyone knows it, but it’s actually very complicated musically. It’s not one of the easier ones, you know? It’s wonderful that songs like that have become part of the everyday consciousness.”
As for his own Christmas plans, he likes to keep it simple: cooking, eating, hanging out with the family – and having Pucket championships, a tradition in the Cullum household.
“We’re trying to make Christmas a simple affair this year,” says the singer. “Modern life is quite complicated, and these days, Christmas is more necessary than ever.”
• Jamie Cullum kicks off his 2020 tour at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin on March 9. Tickets are available here.