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  • Beth Kaufmann

Gregory Porter (Blue Note/Capitol)

Gregory Porter found his voice singing in church and studying his mother’s Nat King Cole records at home. It was Cole’s talent, wisdom and poise that made him a kind of surrogate father to a young, musically gifted son who lived inside his own head. But it was a football scholarship that carried Porter to San Diego State University, where an injury ended his football career. With the injury leaving music as the only outlet for his passions, Porter found a mentor in Kamau Kenyatta, who brought him into a Hubert Laws session, and who has worked with him ever since. With that experience under his belt, after college, Porter moved to New York to work in his brother’s Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn Café by day, and Jazz clubs at night.


All Rise, Porter’s sixth studio album set for an April release, marks a return to is original songwriting beloved by his fans, with heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics combined with everyday sensibilities and real-life authenticity set to an inspired conglomeration of Gospel, Soul, Blues and Jazz. All Rise shows the evolution of Porter’s art to something more emphatic, emotive, intimate, and universal, at times echoing the music if his inspiration, Cole. Wrestling with the direction of this new album, Porter found himself obsessed by the politics of the day, with each new composition morphing into a protest response to the powers that be. He looked inward, upward, and around him, arriving at a new raison d’etre found in the album’s title, All Rise.


All Rise tells Porter’s perspective about life, love, political strife and the belief that through love, all things can get better. His soulful vocals, sophisticated orchestral phrasing, and the ability to shine a light into the darker places of the heart shows us that even through disappointment, pain, and heartbreak, we can heal and be happy again. With the single at radio only a few weeks, KSLU and WKZE are already taking a chance on it.