April 2015

Influences: Jamie Cullum to Louis Jordan

Looking through history to trace the roots of Jamie Cullum’s jazz/piano pop style.

National Standards: 7, 8, 9, 11

Prepare: Have the class read Influences: Jamie Cullum to Louis Jordan (page 20 of the student edition). With summaries of each artist, the article traces back the influence from Jamie Cullum to Louis Jordan.


  • Jamie Cullum – jazz-pop singer-songwriter, huge fan of…
  • Ben Folds – piano pop influenced by Elton John, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, and…
  • Joe Jackson – new wave rocker who formed a swing band in the ’40s, who covered many songs by…
  • Louis Jordan – bandleader, saxophonist, singer, songwriter. Helped popularize “jump blues”a high-energy mix of jazz, blues, and boogie-woogie

Begin: Have students listen to the following videos, read the biographies linked in each artist’s name, and compare their work.

Performing “Caldonia” with the Tympany Five:

How does the performance of this song embody the “jump blues” genre?

The official music video for hit “Steppin’ Out”:

How does this song compare and contrast to Louis Jordan’s?

Performing with the Jumpin’ Jive in Tokyo in 1986, a group named after Jackson’s 1981 swing and blues release that featured several songs by Jordan:

His music video for “Landed” from his 2009 album Songs for Silverman:

How does “Landed” compare and contrast to “Steppin’ Out”? Are there any traces of Louis Jordan?

Performance of “Save Your Soul” live at Abbey Road Studios in 2013:

What influences from the previous artists can be heard in Jamie Cullum’s work?