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Singer and pianist Jamie Cullum on stage at the 13th Starlite Occident festival in Marbella's Nagüeles quarry venue. Josele
Jamie Cullum, the British musician who conquered Marbella
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Jamie Cullum, the British musician who conquered Marbella

The pianist and singer's eclectic jazz performance opened the Starlite Occident festival on Friday evening

Carlos Zamarriego

Marbella

Monday, 17 June 2024, 13:35

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Warm nights are back, and so is the best of the music scene in Marbella. With a crescent moon in sight, the curtain rose on the 13th Starlite Occident festival, revealing an artist with the face of a suburban kid, a 300-euro T-shirt and a distinctive laugh. Singer and pianist Jamie Cullum dazzled for almost two hours in the Nagüeles quarry on Friday 14 June, as if he were a magician with an infinite deck of cards under his hat.

The crowd had not yet finished their dinner when, with exquisite British punctuality, he appeared singing "Dinner at eight, that sounds fine" from his hit Get Your Way, which was immediately followed by a cover of Ray Charles' What'd I Say and Live Your Life. This strong start confirmed that Jamie Cullum is too pop to be jazz and too jazz to be pop. He is a hybrid musical animal, eclectic, unclassifiable. His subsequent covers similarly displayed the exceptional virtuosity that is a regular feature of his concerts.

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Shortly afterwards his tone got more serious with Drink, reminding us that "there's no time to wander around in the cold," followed by What a Difference a Day Made, one of his most recognisable hits. Up to eighteen songs (including encores) were played and sung with hyperactive energy. He played the piano for Next Year Baby and When I Get Famous, and covered Everybody Wants To Be A Cat from The Aristocats, saving Rihanna's popular Don't Stop The Music for last, with some beatboxing thrown in for good measure.

He made jokes, danced like he was possessed by the chords and descended from the stage a few times to sing among the audience. He even took the mobile phones of some lucky fans and brought them up on stage to record videos of himself that are sure to go viral. Although he was accompanied by a great band, all eyes and the three giant screens at Starlite were on him, mesmerised by his skilful hands gliding along the black and white keys. Even so, trumpeter Rory Simmons had two moments to shine and backing vocalists Aisha Stuart and Marx Will made it look like they had the best job in the world.

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