Album Review: Jamie Cullum, “Interlude” (2014)

“Interlude” is the follow-up to Cullum’s 2013 release, “Momentum”, which was surprisingly more of a pop-based album. However, Interlude calls to mind Cullum’s blues/jazz origin, as the album has a heavy jazz influence and stylistically sounds more like his first albums, “Heard It All Before” (1999) and “Pointless Nostalgic” (2002).

There are many highlights on the album, including the title/opening track,”Interlude.” The song’s an original one penned by Cullum, and is the breezy infusion of jazz/pop which Cullum is known for producing. The title track is one of the few original songs, however, with the majority of album being made up of covers.

Cullum duets with soul singer Laura Mvula (whom he also sang with on Momentum, for a live version of “Sad, Sad World”), on their heartbreakingly beautiful cover of the Billie Holiday song, “Good Morning Heartache.” One of the album’s highlights is Cullum’s cover of the jazz classic, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, a duet with American jazz artist, Gregory Porter. The song, which is also the album’s first single, is appropriately blues-tinted, with just enough modern sparkle to make it a worthy contender for a radio hit.

Cullum’s albums have always been full of his unique, inventive covers and this one is no exception; however, the highlight for me is his cover of “The Seer’s Tower”- a remake of a Sufjan Stevens song. While Steven’s indie-pop original was dark and quiet, Cullum takes the song and adds a jazz influence to it, along with a gorgeous instrumental piece resplendent with tribal drums. I’m a big fan of Sufjan Stevens, so it was a pure delight to hear Cullum cover another of my favourite artists. If he covers John Mayer on his next album, I can just die and go straight to music heaven.

There are a few other treats- Cullum’s rendition of “My One and Only Love” is appropriately melancholy, and his voice drips over the track like warm honey. Songs like “Lovesick Blues” and “Sack O’Woe” kick up the tempo, despite their somber subject matter, and both tracks are ones you’d have hard time not wanting to dance to.

The album comes to a close with “Make Someone Happy” a stunning ballad and cover of the Jimmy Durante original. Though the song retains some of its original old-time charm, Cullum makes it his own with his smooth vocals and superb piano playing.

Though “Interlude” is Cullum’s seventh studio album, he’s showing no signs of running out of steam. Interlude is every bit as wonderful as his debut album, though he’s grown exponentially as a musician. Whether you’re an old fan of Cullum’s, a new fan, or just a fan of jazz music, you’ll love this album.

Rating: 200px-4_stars.svg

Track Listing
1. Interlude
2. Don’t You Know
3. The Seer’s Tower
4. Walkin’
5. Good Morning Heartache feat. Laura Mvula
6. Sack O’ Woe
7. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood feat. Gregory Porter
8. My One And Only Love
9. Lovesick Blues
10. Losing You
11. Out Of This World
12. Make Someone Happy

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