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Gregory Porter's Be Good is an instant Jazz classic
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.