Jamie Cullum Wants You To Hear These Jazz Tunes The best-selling pianist also hosts a jazz show on BBC Radio 2. He joins NPR's Scott Simon to share new music from three European artists who merge classic sounds with electronic elements.

Jamie Cullum Wants You To Hear These Jazz Tunes

Jamie Cullum Wants You To Hear These Jazz Tunes

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Jamie Cullum, a popular jazz musician, shares his top tracks of the moment. McVirn Etienne/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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McVirn Etienne/Courtesy of the artist

Jamie Cullum, a popular jazz musician, shares his top tracks of the moment.

McVirn Etienne/Courtesy of the artist

When pianist Jamie Cullum came to NPR's studios earlier this year, his love and appreciation for great music was electrifying. Cullum, the U.K.'s best-selling contemporary jazz artist, also hosts his own jazz show on BBC Radio 2.

Cullum recently joined NPR's Scott Simon to share some of the music that's caught his attention. His picks — London singer ESKA, English group Polar Bear and Belgian vocalist Melanie De Biasio — all embrace both classic jazz sounds and contemporary electronic elements. Hear the conversation at the audio link above, or listen to each song in its entirety below.

Jamie Cullum's Playlist

  • ESKA, 'Rock Of Ages'

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    "Rock of Ages"

    From 'Eska'

    "ESKA is originally from Zimbabwe, but she's spent most of her life in London, and she has been one of the best-kept secrets in our country for ages," Cullum says. "She occasionally can sound like a great gospel singer, [or] like Joni Mitchell, even the best part of Mariah Carey comes out in her voice, but it's all melded together in a way that's totally unique. It's like taking a bath in a million different genres at one time."

    YouTube
  • Polar Bear, 'Don't Let The Feeling Go'

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    "Don't Let The Feeling Go"

    From 'Same As You'

    "I think Polar Bear are the great argument for why European jazz is something that is vital — certainly now," Cullum says. "It sounds like it could only exist in the 21st century, and it sounds like it could only exist coming out of Europe ... This music comes out of a culture of improvised jazz, yes, but also a culture of club music, dub music, electronic music — the kind of music I was growing up listening to in the '90s in warehouses in Bristol."

    YouTube
  • Melancie De Biasio, 'I'm Gonna Leave You'

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    "I'm Gonna Leave You"

    From 'No Deal'

    "She comes from a jazz and classical background — she's a flute player, she's an improviser — but she has the intrigue of a nouvelle vague heroine. She could have stepped out of a Jean-Luc Godard film. There's an electronic element in the music; if you're a jazz fan, you will immediately love this, but also if you're a 24-year-old who listens to ambient techno music, you will also be able to jump onto this," Cullum says.

    YouTube