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.
Gregory Porter album review
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