Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Gregory Porter: All Rise (Decca Records/Blue Note)

Gregory Porter: All Rise (Decca Records/Blue Note) album review



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UK release date 28.08.2020

Three years after his dalliance with a Nat King Cole covers album Gregory Porter triumphantly returns with an extraordinary album brimming with soul, love and emotion. His sixth album is quality and quantity, with an hour's music, many killer tracks and no fillers. Porter serves up a delicious cocktail of soul, jazz, blues and gospel. His past record sales now permit a bigger band, choir and subtle use of the London Symphony Orchestra strings on five tracks.

Recorded between Paris, L.A. and London, Porter wrote all 13 songs on the album apart from the storming "Revival Song", co-written with Troy Miller and Oli Rockburger, which has echoes of Christina Aguillera's "Ain’t No Other Man" and is brought to life by the choir’s backing vocals. Porter shares producing duties with Miller (Jamie Cullum, Amy Winehouse, Rag’n’Bone Man). This is big, bold music. Standout tracks include the Philly meets Marvin Gaye of "Faith In Love", guitar solo by Femi Temowo and gorgeous piano work from Porter’s long-time pianist Chip Crawford; the strong "Long List Of Troubles" and the instant classic "Phoenix" which inspires the album's title.

Gentler songs such as the tender "Modern Day Apprentice" and "If Love Is Overrated" showcase Porter's silky jazz voice, the latter bringing back memories of his "Water Under Bridges", which is a good thing. "Everything You Touch Is Gold" could be applied to all aspects of this truly remarkable album.

Smokey Robinson said that Aretha Franklin could sing the phone book and sound soulful. Porter does likewise with multiple soulful repetitions of the name "Mr Holland", which shares subject matter with a previous song "Real Good Man". Let Gregory Porter be your vocal comfort blanket. Let his reassuring, trusted voice wash over you and smother you with love. This album will change lives. It will bring tears to your eyes and love to your soul.

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