Gregory Porter

COMPOSERS: Gregory Porter
LABELS: Motema
ALBUM TITLE: Gregory Porter
WORKS: Be Good
PERFORMER: Gregory Porter (vocals), Kamau Kenyatta (sax), Chip Crawford (pno), Aaron James (bass), Emmanuel Harrold (drums)


For those who saw New Year in with Jools Holland on BBC TV, one of the striking performances was by US jazz vocalist Gregory Porter, complete with his trademark woollen hat, singing ‘Work Song’ – the Nat Adderley tune which became a 1960s hit after Oscar Brown Junior added words.

The track is the outstanding highlight from Be Good, Porter’s second album, which along with a mix of self-penned tunes culminates in a solo take of Billie Holiday’s ‘God Bless The Child’.
His debut disc Water, with its punchily political ‘1960 What?’ is tough to follow, but he continues to reveal his gift for lyrical storytelling with carefully crafted tracks, focusing on heartfelt observations.

The track order lets it down, as the sentimental opener may turn some away. But it’s clear to see why Porter’s voice headlined the opening of the last London Jazz Festival. This release is a worthy opener for 2012.


Neil McKim