Review: “Take Me to the Alley” Gregory Porter.

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(picture courtesy of www.gregoryporter.com)

Let me get on record here! Gregory Porter’s latest album is fantastic! There I said it! If I would use stars to rate music and five was the very best…this album would garner all of those stars with ease. This record is mellow, soothing, soulful, meaningful and all other clichés apply.

Throwing another cliché in for good measure, this guy can sing the phonebook for all I care. Is this album exploring new ground some critics have asked? Does it? No not really, do I care? No I don’t!  Nobody should care really.  This an artist in his element! Leave him be! Never interrupt something so natural, pure and beautiful. This singer’s approach to singing never gets old!  Porter seems to be deepening the niche he already carved with this record. Perfecting his crown! This ‘crooner’  knows how to polish his jewels like none other.

There’s not a bad song on this album, from the single “Holding On” to the gospel tinged  “Don’t Be a Fool” to the timely “Don’t Lose Your Steam” (the other single). Other personal favorites are the title cut “Take Me To The Alley”, “In Fashion” and the haunting “Consequence of Love”.

So this gentleman’s got the voice, writes most of his tunes, and has an awesome band! What can go wrong? Nothing! Considering that Porter joined forces yet again with his mentor  Kamau Kenyatta. With whom he obviously labored in love and appreciation.  Kenyatta is a musician, producer, and a lecturer at the University of California. The band; Chip Crawford-piano,  Aaron James – bass,  Emanuel Harrold-drums,  Yosuke Sato-alto sax , Tivon Pennicott-tenor sax. Alicia Olatuja-vocals, Keyon Harrold-trumpet,  Ondrej Pivec-organ.

I love the tightness of this crew, tight and yet laid back enabling Porter to deliver his signature subdued style of singing. While he has a unique sound, his rare quality reminds me of singers like Lou Rawls, Frank Sinatra, Al Jarreau, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, James Taylor and others. What a range this guy has, his lows and highs are equally pleasant and textured.

If you bought Gregory Porter’s previous albums you will love this one too! If you never heard this guy sing, this album would be the perfect way to get acquainted with Gregory Porter. So if you like jazz,soul,gospel this one should be in your record collection.

Now available on iTunes and other digital outlets (Decca Records)

Tracklist:

1. Holding On (Gregory Porter/James John Napier/Guy William Lawrence/Howard John Lawrence)

2. Don’t Lose Your Steam (Gregory Porter)

3. Take Me To The Alley (Porter)

4. Day Dream (Gregory Porter/Craig Dawson)

5. Consequence of Love (Porter)

6. In Fashion (Porter)

7. More Than A Woman (Porter)

8. In Heaven (Darlene Andrews)

9. Insanity (Porter)

10. Don’t Be A Fool (Porter)

11. Fan The Flames (Porter)

12. French African Queen (Porter)

Produced by Kamau Kenyatta

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