It took a bit longer than expected, but Verve appears to have beat the competition to market with the male answer to Norah Jones in 23-year-old piano-playing crooner Jamie Cullum. For the reported $2.5 million Diana-dollars Verve shelled in the deal, it got a suitably soulless vocal stylist handy with a Wurlitzer who tries hard to liven up some tired old standards and show tunes like I Could've Danced All Night, Singin' In The Rain, I Get A Kick Out Of You and - wait for it - Blame It On My Youth. To placate the under-50 crowd, a few newer tunes like The Wind Cries Mary, by Jimi Hendrix, have been thrown in, while High And Dry fulfills the Radiohead cover requirement. There's still little evidence that Cullum has either the chops or the creativity to outlast the current piano cutie fad.
The curious can check out Jamie Cullum at the Mod Club May 26.