The refreshing thing about Jamie Cullum is that he's a jazz-rooted player who really loves pop, rather than a jazzer who wears pop's clothes for the bank manager's benefit. This album was recorded in settings varying from Cullum's London flat, with its upright piano, to LA – where the hired hands could include the Count Basie Orchestra and the horn section from Michael Jackson's Thriller. It takes in updated big-band swing on Just One of Those Things, Rihanna's Don't Stop the Music, Sweeney Todd's Not While I'm Around and the breakbeat, house and Latin-jiving references that Cullum and his composer brother Ben have been delving into just as eagerly as jazz for years. Just One of Those Things, rearranged for Cullum by the veteran Frank Foster, rolls out over an adapted Monk lick. The Latin You and Me Are Gone has a live feel and lots of handclapping and bongos, and Cullum's trademark vocal slides and crisp piano fills fizz engagingly. His Michael Jacksonesque grunts and exhalations on Don't Stop the Music sound like the only forced references. Jazzers won't suddenly get the point of Cullum through this, but a lot more pop fans might.
John Fordham is the Guardian's main jazz critic. He has written several books on the subject, reported on it for publications including Time Out, Sounds, Wire and Word, and contributed to documentaries for radio and TV. He is a former editor of Time Out, City Limits and Jazz UK, and regularly contributes to BBC Radio 3's Jazz on 3