US Blue Note CD, 2013
Buy this album from our CD Shop
1) No Love Dying
2) Liquid Spirit
3) Lonesome Lover
4) Water Under Bridges
5) Hey Laura
6) Musical Genocide
9) Brown Grass
10) Wind Song
11) The "In" Crowd
13) When Love Was King
14) I Fall In Love Too Easily
Liquid Spirit is Gregory Porter's third album, and his first on Blue Note. His
first two albums were released on a Motema independent label, but earned him two Grammy
nominations, so it was really inevitable that he would be signed by some major label sooner
or later. And
although I personally had some doubts that Blue Note would turn him a Norah
Jones -type of pop star, luckily Gregory has kept his own style.
But what is this style then - as his previous performances range from Bill Withers-influenced
early 70s sounding soul music to gospel-inclined songs and straight
jazz, including Wayne Shorter
compositions? It was obvious that he has to explain the wide range of influences, and he
states: “I firmly consider myself a jazz singer but I enjoy blues, southern soul, and
gospel,”. “Those elements make their way inside my music. And I’ve always heard them in jazz.”
Indeed, this album continues in virtually the same path that Gregory's previous album Be Good.
For those who adored his instantly hummable pop melodies like Real Good Hands on the
previous set, can find similar Bill Withers inclined songs like Hey Laura and
No Love Dying on this new album. Gregory's interpretation of the The In Crowd
is naturally more influenced by Ramsey Lewis' instrumental version than the original Dobie
Grey version, although this is a vocal version.
But if you prefer real jazz, there's still plenty of that, as well, and on Pop Matters
a reviewer stated that this CD "is absolutely a jazz record" (unlike Jose James'
Blue Note debut, which he considered "not really a proper jazz record").
And the musical backdrop here is really
solid acoustic rhythm section in a classic jazz style: drums, bass, piano, saxes and trumpet.
And I really enjoy the organic feel, there are no compromises for that. Of the jazz oriented
cuts, there are plenty of classy tracks on offer. Lonesome Lover is originally a
Abbey Lincoln - Max Roach composition, but there are also excellent new tunes like
Musical Genocide, Free and Movin'.
I saw Gregory Porter performing live last April at April Jazz Festival (Espoo, Finland), and I was convinced.
I still am, after his Blue Note debut, and I can warmly recommend it to anyone who has
enjoys both jazz and soul.