A British pianist and vocalist who mixes jazz with melodic pop into a crossover style that calls to mind Harry Connick, Jr., and Norah Jones, Jamie Cullum will just as often cover a swinging jazz standard as a modern rock song. So the Cole Porter tune that kicks off fifth album “The Pursuit” won’t surprise you, but the house track that closes it just might. Elsewhere Cullum messes with our heads on Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music”, an unprecedented bit of Euroclub insanity replete with the original’s “mama-se, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa” sample lifted from Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”. Ironically, Jacko and Quincy Jones themselves swiped the chant from Manu Dibango’s 1972 afrobeat smash “Soul Makoosa”, one of the songs that launched the nascent disco movement.
by Mark Emge