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Be Good

Audio CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews

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Be Good
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MP3 Download, 15 Feb 2012
Audio CD, CD, 13 Feb 2012
£9.99
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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 Feb. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Motema
  • ASIN: B006T9WU1S
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  Vinyl |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,721 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Painted on Canvas
  2. Be Good (Lion's Song)
  3. On My Way to Harlem
  4. Real Good Hands
  5. The Way You Want to Live
  6. When Did You Learn
  7. Imitation of Life
  8. Mother's Song
  9. Our Love
  10. Bling Bling
  11. Work Song
  12. God Bless the Child

Product description

BBC Review

Californian-born New Yorker Gregory Porter shot to fame with his debut album, Water, in 2010, earning a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal in the process. This follow-up comes with high expectations, but fans of authentically soulful vocals and luxuriant horn-heavy arrangements need not worry, Porter has, in a word, nailed it.

Porter’s voice is a marvel: a warm, assured tenor with precise, impeccable intonation, completely at home in classy originals that – like all good jazz – seem to bathe in timeless familiarity. On Painted on Canvas, Porter’s delivery is imbued with some of Donny Hathaway’s earnest wistfulness, while the title-track feels so much like a standard from the Great American Songbook that it’s a cinch to imagine it cropping up in a Sammy Davis Jr TV special between The Candy Man and Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head – and it comes as no surprise to learn that Porter is a veteran of musical theatre.

Yet, despite these stylings, Porter clearly sees his work as part of a jazz lineage – as driven home in the breezily up-tempo optimism of On My Way to Harlem with its Duke Ellington name-check and Porter’s claim of “I was baptized by a jazzman’s horn”. It’s a sentiment that benefits from the genuine jazz chops laid down by an acoustic band built around pianist Chip Crawford – who isn’t afraid to take his solos out beyond obvious melodic territory – and saxophonist/arranger Kamau Kenyatta, whose solos are a little more honeyed.

There’s a sense of sumptuous comfort about much of the album – and not just in the arrangements. Porter’s lyrics, too, seem to come from a place of great emotional strength: Real Good Hands is a respectful marriage proposal (complete with cornball 70s-style spoken introduction) and Mother’s Song is a gospelised paean to family values. In fact, towards the middle of this (quite long) album it’s all so wholesome and smooth that it’s a little like lingering too long in a hot bath and nodding off into steamy, contented slumber.

But all is made good by a couple of closing stormers: Bling Bling, a high-energy jazz gallop in which Porter unleashes an all-too-brief burst of raucous scat; and a belting version of Nat Adderley’s Work Song that raises exuberant goose-bumps. Yeah, Gregory Porter is the real deal.

--Daniel Spicer

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2 October 2016
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20 May 2012
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15 March 2013
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24 April 2014
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