20 August 1979, Rochford, Essex, England. Cullum began playing piano as a child, crediting his older brother, Ben, later to become a session musician, as being a primary influence. By his mid-teenage years, he had grown weary of the current pop scene and through the medium of his parents record collection began paying attention to jazz. Meanwhile, his attention was being drawn towards singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Determined first on a career in film, Cullum studied the subject at Reading University but was already working nights as a singer-pianist. His interest in jazz piano grew and he has expressed his admiration for musicians such as Bill Evans, Erroll Garner, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk. Not surprisingly, the two strands, superior popular song and piano jazz, came together in his playing and singing. He also developed an appreciation of the work of Harry Connick Jnr. and, later, Diana Krall.
In the wake...