Gregory Porter Water

Water by Gregory Porter

The Reverend Listens To … Water by Gregory Porter

I am a massive Gregory Porter fan. I got bought Liquid Spirit as a Christmas present a couple of years ago and that has kicked off my enjoyment of the wondrously voiced, Gregory Porter. I’ve never been interested in the reasons for his ‘hat’ as all I’ve cared about is his music.

He came to a small Jazz Club in the UK called ‘Ronnie Scotts’ however I didn’t get tickets and I kick myself on a regular basis. He has since played the Royal Albert Hall but I don’t enjoy large venues for my music or comedy.

Water by Gregory Porter

‘Water’ is a great place to start for as both the first album of Gregory Porter and male Vocal Jazz in general. His voice has a smoothness that complements the band –  Think more ‘After Dinner Jazz’ than ‘Avant Garde Futuro-Aztec Funk’ – and  the first track on the album, ‘Illusion’, perfectly reflects this. The ‘Voice and Piano’ makes it an intimate introduction and helps put you at ease.

The next track starts with a double-bass before a gentle drum-roll and then the piano/muted trumpet. This would sit perfectly in a venue like Ronnie Scotts and you realise how much I’m REALLY kicking myself for not getting tickets to see him there!  The track is more involved that ‘easy listening’ and the listener is treated to a wonderful horns breakdown in the middle – Sax followed by Trumpet – with a vocal crescendo before it ends, as it began, with a gentle bit of double-bass.

The third track is ‘Magic Cup’ and brings up the tempo before it is brought back down again for ‘Skylark’. I was about to write that this song sounds like it could have been sung by any of the classical Jazz singers in the last 60 years. I thought I’d best do a google and it looks like this was first recorded in 1942!

Bringing the mood back up, ‘Black Nile’ is a fast-paced, entertaining song being covered by Gregory Porter. ‘Wisdom’ then slows things right down again – a repetitive tap on the high hat through-out helps you through the journey of this song. Its the 2nd longest track on the album at nearly 10 minutes but you wont feel bored and you will enjoy how the song progresses, with both the sax and the piano having their own features on the track.

1960 What

The longest track on the album but oh, what a track! This for me is Jazz at its greatest – a song that builds and is so much more than just a sum of all its parts. I imagine this was the first track that Gregory Porter played when he performed at Ronnie Scotts. The track grows and grows – it includes a call & response – and I’ve never got bored of it. I’ve had the ‘one-track-repeat’ going on this a few times, just so I can fully appreciate it.

The rest of the album is an enjoyable affair with a relaxing tone and easy-going melody. The 2nd to last track is the title track of the album – Water – and builds to a fantastic finish. Its not the final track on the album. This honour goes to ‘Feeling Good’. Gregory Porter covers the Nina Simone classic but his twist is that there is no instruments, just his voice. Beautiful!

What Format?

I’ve covered it before but I’m building my vinyl collection so this was on vinyl. It did have the added bonus of a free digital download that I was able to add to my iTunes.

Buy it

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Cost

I got the vinyl for £15 and it came with a free digital download.

Check out my other music reviews here

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One comment

  1. Thanks Reverend. Totally agree with your review; it’s a great album; also Take me to the Alley is good as well.
    I did manage to see him a few years ago in Bristol a few years ago before he became “famous “. He’s brilliant live.

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