Interview: Jamie Cullum


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I love writing the “Track Record" column for Wall Street Journal/Europe, which is based in London. The point of the column is to interview artists to see what obscure albums most influenced them. There are always surprises, and I'm constantly being turned on to music that escaped my radar.

Case in point is my interview with jazz singer-songwriter and pianist Jamie Cullum in today's “Off Duty" section of the Europe edition (go here). My challenge to Cullum was tell me about albums that have inspired him to take risks. I was familiar with Money Jungle but not the rest. Perhaps the most fascinating of the bunch was David Axelrod's psychedelic dance rock-fusion album, Song of Innocence, from 1968. Hear for yourself...


In the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal today, my interview with comedian Mike & Molly's Billy Gardell on growing up in Pittsburgh, moving to Florida at age 11 and how the relocation helped shape his comedy (go here). Billy is a naturally funny guy. When he called me right on time for our chat, I said, “Billy, wow, a comedian who's right on time?." Without missing a beat, he said, “Yeah, you're right. Let me call you back." [Photo of actor-comedian Billy Gardell at his home in Los Angeles by Annie Tritt for The Wall Street Journal]

Novelist Richard Ford is from Arkansas, but believe it or not, in the early 1980s he fell in love with suburban New Jersey and became a Bruce Springsteen fan. We talked about his favorite song by the Boss for the weekend's Review section (go here).

And finally, in case you missed my essay on rock 'n' roll disc jockey Alan Freed, go here. The King of Rock and Roll wasn't a Boy Scout when it came to payola, but he has been demonized for far too long. It's time to celebrate what he accomplished for the music business, turning dozens of artists into household names and helping the Civil Rights Movement gain momentum. Freed also was a champion of teens and individualism at a time when teens were viewed as vermin unless they conformed and looked and behaved like their parents. There was no youth culture then.

Here's Part 1 of an Alan Freed radio broadcast...

And here's Part 2...

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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