UNDERWHELMING EFFORT FROM JAZZ-POP MAESTRO
Not quite a follow up to 2016’s Take Me To The Alley, this latest offering from the balaclavawearing jazz singer is more of a companion for completists (or a calculated cash-in now that Christmas is around the corner, depending on your view). Those with a Sherlock Holmes-like mind will of course already realise that Nat King Cole & Me is a covers record, which Porter intends as a tribute to the late, great crooner. Well, you know what they say the road to hell is paved with…
At best a mildly entertaining detour, the 14-track album is immaculately produced, and the silky-voiced singer does possess an extraordinary timbre, similar to the legend he’s paying homage to. Undoubtedly, Porter is an artist of talent, and there is a definite feeling that if he’d taken this project in a different direction, he could really have done the material justice and allowed his gifts to shine.
However, does the world really need another version of ‘Smile’ or ‘Mona Lisa’ – especially when they don’t stray from the source material? There are some brief glimpses of greatness, particularly on the giddy ‘L-OV-E’, but there’s no escaping the fact that a man of such considerable talent shouldn’t be performing as a tribute act.
OUT NOW / EDWIN McFEE