mon 15/07/2024

CD: Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit

CD: Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit

Terrific major label debut from the Grammy-nominated jazz singer

Gregory Porter's Blue Note debut provides one of the biggest sugar rushes of auditory pleasure you'll hear this year. Grounded in jazz but heavily seasoned with the blues, gospel and soul, it's a superbly paced album, ranging from the poetic tableaux of ballad “When Love Was King” to the unstoppable, hand clapping moto perpetuo of the title track.

There are many other gems amongst the album's 14 tracks, including the singular intimacy of opener “No Love Dying”, the heartfelt plea of “Musical Genocide” and the soulful melodicism of “Movin'”. With a baritone voice that evokes heartbreaking beauty and deep-seated pain - sometimes within the confines of a single song - Porter channels the spirits of Nat King Cole and Curtis Mayfield in powerfully distinctive ways.

There aren't too many jazz singers who have the luxury of keeping a regular band together from one recording to the next. Porter is one of them. On Liquid Spirit the same brilliant team is in place that accompanied him on his two previous, Grammy-nominated albums, Water (2010) and Be Good (2012): pianist and MD, Chip Crawford, alto saxist Yosuke Sato, tenor saxist Tivon Pennicott, bassist Aaron James, and drummer Emanuel Harrold. This core ensemble is augmented intermittently by trumpeter Curtis Taylor and organist Glenn Patscha.

As he did on his first two albums, the singer signs off with an iconic standard (sung on this occasion with accompaniment rather than a cappella), dusting down the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne evergreen “I Fall In Love Too Easily”. Penned well over half a century ago and covered by everyone from Miles Davis to Frank Sinatra, Porter's incandescent interpretation lingers long in the memory.

Overleaf: Watch Gregory Porter perform "Liquid Spirit"


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