A rapidly ascending star with a magnificent blues-baritone voice“
“Porter is being touted as the soul-jazz singer of the future”
“Porter has made the best vocal album for an age”
The Independent on Sunday
Following two globally-acclaimed, Grammy-nominated albums, Gregory Porter will release his major label debut in September through Blue Note/Universal. One of the most soulful, emotional and easily identifiable performers to have emerged in recent years, Porter is a uniquely engaging artist who possesses a rare ability to combine the subtle intricacies of jazz with a deep, gospel-powered soulfulness. Despite having only come to prominence in recent years, Porter is already widely regarded as one of the finest singers of his time, an artist whose dynamic and energetic live performances continue to wow audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Rooted in a jazz tradition that informs his soul-charged sound, Liquid Spirit sees Porter pushing the envelope with a combination of tight songwriting, smart arrangements and poignant vocal performances. The album swings between delicate, lyrically reflective ballads (Water Under Bridges, Hey Laura), driving, hard bop-influenced rhythms (Liquid Spirit, The In Crowd), and soulful mid-tempo numbers (Free, Movin’), all of which showcase Porters innate gift for melody and demonstrate that he can straddle the often treacherous artistic/commercial divide. Porter retains the same core musicians that accompanied him on his previous two albums – pianist and musical director Chip Crawford, drummer Emanuel Harrold, bassist Aaron James, alto saxophonist Yosuke Sato, and tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott.
Raised in California, Porter’s mother was a minister, and he cites the Bakersfield Southern Gospel sound, as well as his mother’s Nat King Cole record collection, as fundamental influences on his own sound. Porter began singing in small jazz clubs in San Diego while attending San Diego State University on a football scholarship and although the draw of a career as a star football player was strong, it was music that Porter chose to pursue full-time at the encouragement of local musicians. Before long he was singing in a theater production of It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, which garnered rave reviews and eventually ended up on Broadway. He put down roots in Brooklyn and in 2010 released his debut album Water, which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. The follow-up Be Good earned Porter his second Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance and propelled him to international stardom.
Liquid Spirit, his much anticipated third album, is a work that brims with passion, enthusiasm and hope. It’s an affectionate, rounded selection that will no doubt serve to broaden the music-loving audience’s perceptions of a great artist’s creativity and spirit.