Top positive review
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Oh Mr. Porter!
on 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.