Gregory Porter - Water - 2011 Spiritual Jazz Vocal - 180 Grm 2LP

In stock

Gregory Porter - Water

Label: Motéma
Cat#: 233797
Format: 180 grm 2 × Vinyl, Album, LP, Gatefold
Country: UK & Europe
Released: 18 Oct 2013
Genre: Jazz


A1 Illusion 3:04
A2 Pretty 6:21
A3 Magic Cup 6:12

B1 Skylark 8:19
B2 Black Nile 4:57
B3 Wisdom 9:31

C1 1960 What? 12:27
C2 1960 What? (Opolopo Remix) 8:25

D1 But Beautiful 5:36
D2 Lonely One 5:43
D3 Water 4:03
D4 Feeling Good 3:02

Companies etc

Phonographic Copyright (p) – Motéma Music
Copyright (c) – Motéma Music
Manufactured By – Membran Music Ltd.
Distributed By – Music Alliance Membran GmbH


Alto Saxophone – James Spaulding (tracks: 5,6), Yoske Sato (tracks: 2,3,5,7,9)
Arranged By – Chip Crawford, Gregory Porter, Kamau Kenyatta
Artwork – Kaitlin Doorley, Rebecca Meek
Bass – Aaron James (2) (tracks: 2,3,4,5,6,7,9)
Drums – Chuck Mcpherson (tracks: 4,6,9), Emanuel Harold (tracks: 2,3,5,7)
Engineer – Geoff Countryman, Tyler Macdiarmid
Mixed By, Mastered By – Geoff*, Tyler*
Photography By – Jim Lafferty
Piano – Chip Crawford
Producer – Kamau Kenyatta
Trombone – Robert Stringer (tracks: 2,3,5,7)
Trumpet – Curtis Taylor (3) (tracks: 3,5,7), Kafele Bandele (tracks: 4,5,7), Melvin Vines (2) (tracks: 2,3,5,7)
Vocals – Gregory Porter

If you haven't noticed, female jazz vocalists have fallen upon tough times since the days of Ella, Sarah, Carmen and Shirley Horn. But unlike male vocalists, they aren't all but extinct. The scarcity of male jazz singers has less to do with the talent out there than with finding listeners who have any interest in it. Since Sinatra, Torme, and the occasional release by the iconic Tony Bennett, the only male vocalist to receive much attention is the gifted Kurt Elling.

Porter has a voice that is frequently reminiscent of Elling's, even if his scatting and vocalese are not quite up to that level as yet. Its full, slightly rough baritone quality has an "edge" that could easily overwhelm the spare accompaniment on a recording like this were the instruments--especially the piano--not miked exceptionally close and placed far forward in the mix.

It's a long program--over an hour--that would challenge any vocalist to sustain interest without the help of a full orchestra arranged by Riddle or Mandel. Porter fares better, perhaps, than Tom Vopat, whose recent Harold Arlen tribute album, despite the undeniable talents and appealing voice of the featured artist, becomes strangely wearing about half way through.

This is one of those albums that hearkens back to the '70s in its refusal to provide any relevant information (such as identifying the musicians). Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that Porter has worked closely with this rhythm section, which is unusually free and empathetic without seeming overly organized or merely "tight." (There were times I had to concentrate especially hard to find "one," even though the beat itself was clear and pronounced.)

The songs are appealing enough, but as with most original material these days, there's excessive emphasis on the Dorian, or minor, modality. Also, the vocal power has a tendency to overwhelm some of the sensitivities implied by lyrics expressing the tenderness of love, or the wonder and feelings provoked by nature. Only in "1960s What?" did some of that angry rhetoric seem entirely appropriate to the power of the words (suggestive of the 1960s notorious "Algiers Motel" incident in Detroit.)

Alto, flugel, and trombone are all used sparingly and tastefully. The altoist employs the virtually generic, tightly wound, "squeezed" sound that has been in vogue ever since fusion and New Age music became ubiquitous (where have the individual instrumental voices gone? the inimitable, "full-throated," embodied sound of Cannonball, Stitt, Desmond, Pepper, Woods, Bird--or Hodges?).

A highlight is the minimalist but highly effective accompaniment supplied by the pianist. He pulls off an especially beautiful and surprising key modulation in the introduction to Hoagy's/Mercer's "Skylark" and contributes a very simple yet daring solo on Van Heusen's "But Beautiful," in which his playing of the melody in the lower register with his left hand is reminiscent of the arranging of Gordon Jenkins, Sinatra's most frequent arranger after Nelson Riddle. On these two songs, as well as the last three vocal-piano duets, Porter is at his very best, elevating the lyrics to poetry, playing freely with the time, phrasing without regard to meter or occasionally singing way behind the beat without "losing" it.

Gregory Porter - Feeling Good

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Gregory Porter - Illusion

Magnificent visuals to a magnificent song

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Gregory Porter - Skylark

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Gregory Porter - 1960 What?

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Gregory Porter - 1960 What - (Opolopo Remix

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Gregory Porter - But Beautiful

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More Information
Condition New
Format 2LP, 180 Gram
Label Motéma
Color Black