All Rise Gregory Porter Album Review by Chris High
There’s always a flutter of anticipation surrounding the voice, sound and style of Gregory Porter. His rich mellifluous tones being something of a throwback to the sounds of the 70s, but nevertheless a pleasant aside to the manufactured, here-to-day-gone-tomorrow creations of some of his equally ‘successful’ peers.
That said, however, in the jazz world, writing your own material is a dangerous occupation. All power to Porter then for ploughing his own furrow in this regard, as well as that of becoming everything from Podcaster to TV and Radio broadcast host. Being around is a prerequisite, though to be so in overkill is deeply damaging. For this, again applause must be given.
Everybody across the age groups, social and class divides seems to ‘get’ Gregory Porter: Simple. His music being seen as an antidote, if you will, to the chaos surrounding not only Porter’s fellow Americans, but the world as a whole.
All Rise is the Boy from Bakersfield’s sixth outing in ten years. Not bad by anybody’s standards, but the meteoric rise and subsequent seemingly impenetrably universal popularity is, in these days of Spotify et al – that is to say disposable music on tap – quite exceptional.
Why? Well, all you need do, really, is listen to All Rise in order to get it completely: a tranquil setting in which a charm charm-box filled with the very essences of sweet soul fused jazz has been placed, its contents lovingly nurtured for the well-being of all.
Take Revival Song, for instance. The Gospel vibe with which this number is infused may not provide the most original, dangerous or life changing result but, my word is it a fabulous tune for all that. If Love Is Over Rated, too, is simply yet beautifully composed. Transposed with the delicious saxophone and strings backing, Porter’s voice simply drips with cool.
He isn’t ‘just’ another soul man either. The opening Concorde – the debut single from the album – is an mysterious montage of loneliness and hope, whereas Long List of Troubles has the Blues ripping its way through from stem to stern. So much so an artist of, say, Joe Bonamassa’s calibre performing this would be an absolute joy. Yet it is Mr. Holland that is the track which really stands out. An introspective piece laced with happiness, this is a song guaranteed to get even the most dyed-in-the-wool miseries smiling broadly.
Listening to Gregory Porter’s All Rise is akin to taking a chilly shower on a hot day: a refreshing, invigoration and deeply, deeply satisfying experience in every way and its timelessness that, really, makes it so.
Dad Gone Thing
If Love Is Overrated
Faith In Love
Merchants Of Paradise
Long List Of Troubles
Modern Day Apprentice
Everything You Touch Is Gold
Merry Go Round
You Can Join My Band
Gregory Porter’s new album ‘All Rise’ is out on Decca Records/Blue Note on 28th August 2020