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4.7 out of 5 stars136
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 July 2012
I first heard Gregory Porter performing live on Jools Hollands' New Year's Eve Hootenanny and really enjoyed listening to his clear and soulful pitch-perfect vocals. I decided to purchase both of his CD's and was instantly impressed not only by the beautiful vocals and arrangements, but also by the quality of the songwriting and the lyrical content on both of them. "Be Good", his second and most recent offering, is a very classy recording with some very beautiful compositions.

The opener "Painted On Canvass" is beautifully reflective and soulful whilst retaining a strong Jazz influence. "Be Good" is a very melodic mid-tempo Jazz song with lovely thoughtful lyrics. The tempo speeds up on "On My Way To Harlem" which is a very energetic jazzy number. The suave "Real Good Hands" possesses lovely phrasing and lyrics. "The Way You Want To Live" and "When Did You Learn" are further examples of the classy and sultry mid-tempo songs which the very talented Mr Porter composes so well. The melancholic "Imitation Of Life", originally sung by Earl Grant, is interpreted splendidly. "Mother's Song" is another energetic and inspirational creation whilst "Our Love" is another lovely ballad. "Bling Bling" is much more experimental than the other tunes as it uses more improvisation, both musically and vocally. The album closes with two covers, the funky and soulful "Work Song" and the Billie Holiday classic "God Bless The Child", the latter being interpreted in a very interesting manner.

The quality of the songs on "Be Good" is truly commendable as they are so well written and interpreted. This style of laid back Jazz has been done many times before, but Gregory Porter manages to make it sound original and contemporary whilst keeping the listener thoroughly entertained and alert. This is the Jazz album I have been waiting for and I am very grateful that I discovered Mr Porter.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 February 2012
After his extraordinary debut album Water you might think it would be difficult to follow that - with all the acclaim it got. But no; if anything this is even better. Although it is more of the same - but anybody who liked that debut album (which was JazzWise magazine album of the year) cannot fail to be impressed with this.

Every track sounds like an "instant classic" and like it was written by somebody who has been in the music business for decades and not somebody who just appeared out of nowhere last year. So the sound palette is all-acoustic instruments again, with the Jazz influence dominating; although there are subtle elements of old school R&B, funk and soul. In fact, it is almost like Gregory Porter has taken all the best from "Black" music of the last 50 years and distilled it into a working Jazz band. 11 new tunes from Porter and a cover of a Jazz classic.

I love the sound - crystal clear and everything perfectly audible - just like a classic Blue Note album - but updated for the 21st Century. The piano dominates throughout and has an intimate conversation on the quieter tunes, then provides the impetus for the "blowing" on up-beat tunes. Some great horn solos, with Flugel sounding gorgeous on the stand-out track "On my Way to Harlem". Bass and drums are of the highest quality and provide support without ever intruding.

Of course it really is all about that voice - which just defies description. Dynamics, sustains, subtelty - no words can describe that wonderful sound. But Porter rocks out with the band and on up-tempo tunes like Nat Adderley's "Work Song" - he becomes another horn player and you can imagine this kind of tune is tremendous in a live setting!

What else can I say - you just run out of superlatives for this - you just have to hear it and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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on 20 May 2012
After the success of his last album: Water and in particular the track 1960 What, I doubted if this follow up CD would be in the same class, however the minute I heard the track On My Way to Harlem I knew that we have something special with Gregory Porter. Top notch vocals from this newly up and coming jazz legend.
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on 18 April 2012
I had seen Gregory Porter on Jools Holland and the Carole King session on the BBC and he stole the show. Thoroughly recommended !!!
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on 26 December 2012
I have been a fan of Porter just prior to him becoming known to the Jazz scene. His first record "Water" was a very enjoyable solid collection of traditional Jazz standard songs, making him an instant credible artist.

Porter's new release "Be Good" moves away slightly from the convention of the genre by adding some beautiful and sensual soulful tones and melodies to his music, which are executed majestically.
Previously, I considered that it would be challenging for Porter to produce a second album to match the quality his first. However, this with is proof that I need not be concerned, as not only has he improved on his debut offering, but rather has made an unadulterated masterpiece.

Emphasis alone cannot accentuate how magical this record is, It has to be heard to understand the purity and sheer delight it delivers, as it moves graciously and effortlessly through each instant classic track. This is a definite must buy and should be a part of any serious music lovers collection...This record will even appeal to those who are not ordinarilly a fan of jazz music, as there is a blend of something for everyone in this work.

Particular highlights include: "Painted on Canvas; Be Good; Real Good Hands and Our Love". However, this does not detract from each of the other tracks providing quality in their own right and overall.

If I could give this record 10 stars I would - A real contender for album of the year (2012).
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on 19 August 2013
I ordered the CD's 'Be Good' and 'Water' from Amazon and I have NOT been disappointed at all. I would recommend both CD's to everyone -as they are both CD's of true talent, in terms of lyrics and music compilation - they are a MUST BUY.

'Be Good' - is excellent and probably my favourite of the two CD's. The two tracks I most adore are 'Be Good' (Lion's Song) and 'Real Good Hands'. The lyrics and harmonies of the two tracks are really touching and transport me into a world of 'real singing and music,' 'extreme talent' and 'human emotion.'

You 'feel' every inch of the emotion Mr Porter is conveying. This reminds me of the time when people 'valued' each other and 'connected' to each other as 'human beings' - something Mr Porter has succeeded in doing well.

Thank you Mr Porter - I look forward to hearing and buying much more of your music and to seeing you perform in person.

Pauline W - Woodford Green
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 March 2013
To make an album as good as this after `Water' is quite something. If anything this may be even better. This guy is going to be enormous and the biggest jazz artiste for decades. His voice is just wonderful and so is his music which he writes himself. Jazz has so many genres that it's impossible to define it these days. There's certainly sole, gospel, blues and his very special brand of jazz in his two albums to date, but I think there's a lot more to come.
I was lucky enough to see him live at the Cheltenham Jazz festival very recently - he was utterly outstanding, fresh, new, happy, every bit the new superstar of music and a real charmer too. This guy has just got it and my, is he into his music.
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on 12 November 2012
I was a bit sceptical of Gregory Porter and had dimissed him as pruding a pleasant mish-mash of music where jazz meets Marvin Gaye-inspired soul but having caught him perform live at the Vienne Jazz Festival this summer I was totally converted. He is a significant new voice to jazz and a pretty impressive composer to boot. I was staggered at how an artist could arrive upon the jazz scene so fully informed and mature in his work. Porter is a significant talent and I was instantly converted. He definitely deserved the very warm reception that the audience gave him

This record does live up to the live gig and the best material is represented by the first three compositions which are hugely impressive. As the Amazon review states, the middle of the disc includes a lot of more reflective pieces which tends to change the mood of the CD almost into MOR territory before the strident "Bling, bling" offers an almost extreme contrast. "Bling, bling" features some pretty "out" playing from the oianist Chip Crawford which recalled the late Andrew Hill in some respects and this pitches Porter firmly within the contemporary jazz canon. Crawford is far more of a prickly soloist that you would normally find behind a vocalist and I like this fact. The following "Work Song" swing very hard too and is the best version I've heard of Nat Adderley's old warhouse.

In summary, Gregory Porter was a wonderful voice and is pretty handy as a songwriter too. Nothing here to startle the horses and perfectly acceptable as a piece of jazz but a better balance with more up-tempo tunes might have ensured that this record was one of this year's most interesting jazz records. I think this is a very good album but the disc has a bit of a soft centre which probably makes it four stars and not five. A major talent, in my opinion. I would recommend this disc.
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on 18 April 2012
1st saw him on Jules Holland and found his style to easy and relaxing to listen to. The album is great for stress relief and just to chill to. Recommend it to anyone who enjoys good songs and a great voice.
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on 5 August 2013
There are some voices that define greatness and live on in the memory forever. Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, Marvin infinitum. Gregory Porter has just such a voice. This album is outstanding in every way. One friend I introduced now has this album as her number one favourite and she wasn't even a Jazz fan (by the way, you don't need to be) I could go on, but in essence buy this album and just sit back and enjoy one of the great voices of our generation. See him live if you can to. It's well worth it.
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