Gregory Porter album


(Blue Note)


take-resGregory Porter’s singing and song-writing may have been spawned by a love of jazz, but r&b elements have grown ever stronger until Marvin Gaye now seems at least much of a precursor as Nat King Cole. The lavishly romantic streak present in both his singing and his songs could occasionally tip over into excess were it not supported by equal measures of conviction and warmth of heart. The latter quality is brimful on the title track, which gently evokes the beauty of compassion without becoming overtly religious.

Much of the material tends to be soulful or mildly funky, with sophisticated arrangements and telling solos. It lays to rest any doubts that Porter might end up undermining the magnificence and munificence of his voice with second-rate songs, even if he mostly opts to contain the startling power at his disposal, the incendiary Fan the Flames and the arresting French African Queen apart.