Water (Motéma Music)

Gregory Porter

Released May 11, 2010

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Vocal Album 2011

JazzWise Album of the Year for 2011

Prix du Jazz Vocal de l’Académie du Jazz 2011

YouTube: https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=QE0RwZDyRaw&list=OLAK5uy_le-7jxQwxxN5AFUYQC-8Y7sC2lAXsVDyU

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3DRP05bx9QYVzBh5K6Xa7n?si=6eMUqIrERqSbiTeX1z3qXQ


Everybody is talking about Gregory Porter’s incredible vocal mastery – from Wynton Marsalis who has called him “a fantastic young singer” to Gilles Peterson and Jamie Cullum. Porter’s acclaimed debut recording is imbued with measured, graceful lyricism and whilst reflecting influences as different as Nat “King” Cole and Donny Hathaway it has an emotional intensity that is very much his own. Included on the CD are striking interpretations of the classic songs “But Beautiful” and “Skylark” together with seven original compositions, all of which personify Porter’s world view. Produced by saxophonist, pianist and composer Kamau Kenyatta, ‘Water’ also features legendary alto saxophonist James Spaulding best known for his appearances on iconic Blue Note albums of the 1960’s by Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver and others.

Track Listing:

1. Illusion (Gregory Porter) 3:03

2. Pretty (Gregory Porter) 6:20

3. Magic Cup (Gregory Porter) 6:12

4. Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael / John Mercer) 8:19

5. Black Nile (Wayne Shorter) 4:56

6. Wisdom (Daniel Jackson / Gregory Porter) 9:31

7. 1960 What? (Gregory Porter) 12:27

8. But Beautiful (Jimmy Van Heusen / Johnny Burke) 5:35

9. Lonely One (Gregory Porter) 5:42

10. Water (Gregory Porter) 4:02

11. Feeling Good (Anthony Newley) 3:01


Gregory Porter: vocals

Chip Crawford: piano

Aaron James: bass

Emmanuel Harold: drums (2, 3, 5, 7)

Chuck Mcpherson: drums (4, 6, 9), 

James Spaulding: alto saxophone (5, 6)

Yoske Sato: alto saxophone (2, 3, 5, 7, 9)

Curtis Taylor: trumpet (3, 5, 7)

Kafele Bandele: trumpet (4, 5, 7)

Melvin Vines: trumpet (2, 3, 5 ,7)

Robert Stringer: trombone

Recorded August 19 – 20, 2009, at 58 North Six Media Lab, Brooklyn, New York

Producer: Kamau Kenyatta

Recording, Mixing and Mastering: Geoff Countryman, Tyler Macdiarmid

Artwork: Kaitlin Doorley

Photography: Jim Lafferty


New African-American male jazz vocalists are thin on the ground to say the least, so the arrival of New York based Californian Porter is definitely something worth raising a hallelujah for. Gospel and soul are indeed also part of the deep well of black music from which he draws and there is as much Donny Hathaway as Lou Rawls or Bill Henderson in both the impassioned fire and technical finesse of Porter’s performance. While he has the pipes to really make a song, especially those of the soul jazz or swing persuasion, come to life, Porter is also capable of tremendous subtlety elsewhere, no more so than a crystalline reading of ‘Skylark’, in which he holds languorous, long tones to perfectly capture the wistful nature of the piece. Powerful social commentary such as ‘1960 What?’ lend further substance to the programme, but intelligent lyrics aside, it is the quite startling voice and well marshalled charisma of Gregory Porter that mark him out as a substantial addition to the canon of jazz singing.

Kevin Le Gendre (Jazzwise)