Gregory Porter album review

Be Good

Be Good

Jazz artists that dare stray beyond the borders of their sanctified domain are inevitably given that deathly ‘crossover’ coverall tag. Which is why it takes a talent as seismic and all consuming as singer Gregory Porter’s to stun listeners into reverent silence at the sheer quality of his music, making ‘genre’ a mere afterthought. What’s most remarkable about this, his second album, is that it’s actually marginally better than his stunning, Grammy-nominated debut Water. And while it retains much of the political and emotional heat of that astonishing debut, Be Good is as flawlessly elegant as it is heartfelt and moving. A background in musical theatre and influences that are equal parts Baptist church gospel, Donny Hathaway, Nat King Cole and Gil Scott-Heron, combined with the forty-something Porter’s worldly wise prose, gives his voice and songs a golden life-affirming glow. Played with dynamism by his superb band, alongside Motown-esque flourishes on the album’s faultless opening triptych, Porter is in total vocal and artistic control throughout.

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