Jamie Cullum, “The Pursuit” (Verve)
This British pianist/vocalist has built a career on performing clever jazz standards and surprising pop covers. His fifth studio album finds him taking on more original compositions and fewer covers, but with mixed results. His “You and Me Are Gone” is a lively combination of show tunes, samba, jazz and funk, while his reading of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop the Music” is compelling and unnatural (in hearing talking about getting naughty on the dance floor). However, the album focuses more on the tired sounds of anthemic, emotion-driven rock and jazzed-up ballads.
KATHERINE SILKAITIS, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER