|Heather Small, Sir Michael Parkinson, Jamie Cullum
Pizza Express Big Audition Final, 23rd November 2011
Jamie Cullum does get it right, nails it. Last night he had a three song-spot before stepping onto the judging panel for Pizza Express’s Big Audition at their cavernous Olympia branch. First song was Rihanna’s 2007 song “Please Don’t Stop the Music”, which had some new words reinforcing the important role Pizza Express continues to play in employing musicians – and exhorting/instructing the restaurant chain to continue. His own All at Sea was a thank you for how far he has come since the early days. The inclusion of a standard Cole Porter’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin was a doff of the cap to Sir Michael Parkinson, whose role in kickstarting Cullum’s career was very significant.
Steve Jobs had three principles for “top performers”, and the first of these was “integrity, or honesty and consistency of character”. Mingus called it “play[ing] the truth of what I am”. With Jamie Cullum – as with many improvisers – such characteristics genuinely do appear to come from deep.
Out of tens of thousands of entrants, the Big Audition’s first prize last night went to Offbeat South. Call me an old softie (or worse), but my ears were more taken by the Yesberger Band’s More Than Once.
Big Audition website
The Big Audition is sponsored by Barclaycard