A very strange enchanted boy”
At the Ace Hotel, Gregory Porter showed why, since bursting onto the scene seven years ago, he has become the important lynchpin of male vocalists. Teamed with his band of Chip Crawford/p, Tivon Pennicott/ts, Jahmal Nichols/b and Emanuel (fitfully named for this Christmas season!) Harrold/dr, Porter showed during his 1 ½ concert that is the one singer who convincingly melds aspects of Marvin Gaye-styled Motown, Nat Cole crooning and the roots of it all, the church.
Mixing his own compositions with his latest album, Nat King Cole & Me, Porter delivered updated versions of pieces such as a bopping little “L-O-V-E”, while the riveting and stark aria “I Wonder Who My Daddy Is” was a stunning and poignantly visceral tour de force of vulnerability.
For his own compositions, his Sunday morning dna inherently testifies, be it on the urgent “Musical Genocide,” the pulpit preaching “ On My Way to Harlem” or the visceral recitative of “Take Me To The Alley” which include lyrics of his family and upbringing that embody the Sermon on the Mount.
Each of his own songs had one of these three elements stronger than the other at times, with some deep R&B romanticism on “Consequences of Love,” “In Fashion” and “Insanity,“ the hand clapping and bass slapping pulpit pounding of “Liquid Spirit” with “Wade in the Water” and a dash of Cole’s warmth and overall presence on the ingratiating encore “Smile.” His songs and delivery all reflect his Christian upbringing and devotion, while the passion and grit well display the progress this pilgrim has made and continues to take, inviting you along with him.
Upcoming events at The Ace Hotel include Us the Duo 12/09 and The Blind Boys of Alabama 12/17