Music Review | posted 19.05.2016
Gregory Porter
Take Me To The Alley
Blue Note Records, 2016
Text Jan Paersch , Translation Julia Frohn
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Cover Gregory Porter - Take Me To The Alley

A hi-hat softly hit, a piano, a striking bass line: the sound of »Take Me To The Alley«, is warm and full, as to be heard on the very first seconds of »Holding On«. And then there is this voice: soft and tender, powerful and majestic. Once again, producer Kamau Kenyatta is responsible for the sound of Gregory Porter’s latest record. He also accounted for the Grammy-awarded predecessor »Liquid Spirit«, which became the most streamed jazz record of all times with more than 20 million streams. Maybe it’s a marketing strategy to label Gregory Porter’s music as ‘jazz’ – his music is versatile, using elements of gospel, funk and rhythm’n’blues. However, his unbelievable baritone much more reminds us of the great soul singers: Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye. Hence, it’s not surprising that the record mostly consists of classic acoustic soul-ballads, tracks like »Consequence of Love« and »Insanity«. Simple, unpretentious love songs, on which pianist Chip Crawford repeatedly proves his qualities as an elegant connector of the band of seven. The only thing to wish for when Gregory Porter goes for another bestseller in two years or so is a bit more dirt, a bit more roughness. Until then, »Take Me To The Alley« is a good old-school soul record without much experimenting.

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