Be Good

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

Gre­gory Porter Motema/Groove Mer­chants THIS sec­ond al­bum from young New York vo­cal­ist-com­poser Gre­gory Porter, re­leased ear­lier this year, pre­cedes his first visit to Aus­tralia, where he will be head­lin­ing at Vic­to­ria’s Wan­garatta Jazz and Blues Fes­ti­val, which runs from Novem­ber 2 to 5. Porter wrote nine of the 12 tracks and the mu­si­cians are all long-term as­so­ci­ates, in­clud­ing Ka­mau Keny­atta, who ar­ranged most pieces. Ac­claimed as the next big male vo­cal jazz star, and par­tic­u­larly lauded in Bri­tain and Europe, Porter is from the strong soul school of Donny Hath­away and Cur­tis May­field, with ro­bust jazz el­e­ments adding to the mix. His style is an amal­gam of Ray Charles with dashes of Kurt Elling and echoes of Nat King Cole. That lat­ter influence is no­tice­able in the ti­tle track Be Good, in waltz time, where the al­bum’s core trio, led by swing­ing pi­anist Chip Craw­ford, is ex­panded by trum­pet, alto and tenor as Porter’s voice swoops and soars with force and style. The al­bum’s tonal colour is an­nounced from track one’s open­ing bluesy pi­ano chords in Painted on

Can­vas, as Porter loops a soul-drenched vo­cal around the group’s al­ter­nat­ing drive and re­lax pulse. The com­poser’s po­etic abil­ity with lyrics is ev­i­dent too: ‘‘ We are like chil­dren, we’re painted on can­vases/ Lay­ers of colour and time/ Can I use the colours I choose?/Can I get some greens with my blues?’’ The most ad­vanced, post-bop num­ber is an up­tempo Bling Bling, fea­tur­ing Porter’s raw, blaz­ing scat plus a high­en­ergy alto solo from Yo­suke Sato, Craw­ford’s speed­ing pi­ano and a knock­out drum break from Emanuel Har­rold.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.