Jamie Cullum, ‘Interlude’


Aidin Vaziri | Jamie Cullum has spent his career swinging between jazz and pop, seemingly always on the verge of a breakthrough that never comes. On his latest album, “Interlude” — his seventh studio recording overall — the British piano virtuoso throws his hands in the air and digs into a set of standards made famous by the likes of Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and Nina Simone. He offers up faithful, timeless renditions of most of the songs, but he can’t completely dismiss his desire to scale the charts. So even amid the tasteful woodwinds and swooning strings, Cullum provides flourishes. His version of “Good Morning Heartache,” with sparring vocals from Laura Mvula, arrives with just enough earthy charm to break out of the supper club, while things kick up with his gritty, brass-laden take on “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” which features Gregory Porter. Cullum also veers off script, slipping in “The Seer’s Tower” by indie-rock songwriter Sufjan Stevens, a teetering tune that brings high drama to an album that refuses to run with the other Rat Pack wannabes.