5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
JazzWise Album of the Year and Deservedly so.,
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This review is from: Water (Audio CD)
Over the last few years, it seems that most vocalists involved with Jazz, have been attempting some kind of "crossover" to break through to the wider markets available in the pop audience.
How refreshing it is then, to hear a proper Jazz album where the band leader, primary composer and featured soloist just happens to be a vocalist. No compromises are made and it's all acoustic instruments throughout, with no clever production techniques - just a crystal clear mix that gives everybody space to be heard.
If Gregory Porter had been a Sax player he could have been somebody like John Coltrane and the style of this album is very much from that era and the rhythm section "feel" and piano voicings could have come from A Love Supreme or Coltrane's Sound.
Of course the fact that vocals dominate throughout, makes this a more approachable album and the pre-fusion Jazz rhythms, give a sort of "classic" and rootsy feel to the music that is very appealing. But because Porter writes a lot of this album (which gives him great credit of course)it brings it all up to date and doesn't mean this is stuck in the 1960s - even when he is writing about that period in the stand-out track : '1960 What'.
Throughout, we also have great Jazz playing and improvising, especially from Chip Crawford on Piano - but there are also fluent and exciting horn solos on tracks like Wayne Shorter's 'Black Nile' - which is taken at a blisteringly fast tempo. This is real Jazz - a band interacting and working together and not just a star vocalist going through his repertoire of standards.
This is no doubt why JazzWise magazine's reviewers voted this their album of the year for 2011 and I have no doubt it deserves this and the wider attention it will get because of this. A must-listen album for contemporary Jazz, with more than a nod to the history and tradition of the music.