February 28, 2024

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CD review: Gregory Porter – Still Rising: The Collection 2021: Video, CD cover

Gregory Porter’s Greatest Hits double album.

This will be the first EVER hits collection from the seven-time Grammy nominated, two-time Grammy winner, celebrating Gregory Porter’s decade of success with his best songs from 2010 to 2021, multiple brand new songs, bonus material, and new recordings of his much-loved global hits.

Leveraging the success of his Grammy-nominated 2020 All Rise and timed for the Holiday season with a couple of Christmas songs, Gregory Porter issues a double CD – Still Rising comprised of his favorite hand-picked songs, covers, four new ones, and a second CD of duets. Disc One is a simile of ‘greatest hits’ although Porter refers to it as a career to date perspective. Even the album title suggests this is just a stop along the way. Fans will recognize the classic Porter tunes such as “Hey Laura,” “Liquid Spirit,” and “Revival” which kick off the first disc, with “If Love Is Overrated,” “Holding On,” and “No Love Dying” later appearing. Disc Two is a set of 16 duets, each with a different artist featuring such names as Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright, Lalah Hathaway, as well as vintage pairings with Buddy Holly, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Julie London.

Let’s explore the new songs first. You may have heard the single “I Will,” about looking to our elders for guidance during dark times. It’s fits beautifully with Porter’s unfailingly optimistic outlook, one that might be schmaltzy in the hands of other vocalists, but none of today’s singers have found that special combination of jazz, soul, gospel, and pop like Porter has. These opening lines to another new one “Dry Bones,” are the essence of Porter’s approach – “I won’t die, won’t bury, won’t sink/’Cause love is a spirit I drink.” Produced by Troy Miller, who helmed Still Rise, it is thematically and emotionally in synch with that album with its insistent chorus “Rise Up” and has the clapping motif which made his song “Liquid Spirit” so successful. The commercially sounding “Love Runs Deeper” has an orchestral backdrop and will appear on Disney’s Holiday ad “From Our Family to Yours.” Finally, “Bad Girl Love” is a lovely new late-night piano ballad that finds Porter at his expressive best with a superb command of dynamics.

In addition to those new songs, Porter delivers a cover of Moby’s “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” and ends the disc covering Sting’s “It’s Probably Me.” Perusing the balance, three come Liquid Spirit, three from Water, three from All Rise, and curiously only one from Take Me to the Alley. “L.O.V.E” is from his Nat King Cole tribute album. These are all fine choices, but we could live without his cover of Willie Dixon’s “My Babe” especially when not including “On My Way to Harlem.”

While the themes of the power of love and his unflagging optimism dominate, his protest song “1960 What” that first appeared on 2010’s Water resonates in this time of increased awareness of racial issues and social unrest. At the time of the recording Porter said, “I don’t say ‘1970, what?’ or ‘1980, what?’ but the timelessness of the song is implied, for when it happens in the next ten years, I hope it doesn’t, but it probably will. It’s a recurring story if we don’t learn from history.” Unfortunately, ten years passed, and the story recurred, hence the likely choice for the song to reappear too.

Disc Two gets off to a promising start with the gospel like “Natural Blues” song with Moby and Native Daughter Amythyst Kiah. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” with Jamie Cullum is a fair approximation of the original with Porter injecting his signature soul but the orchestral and vocal backdrops detract from the poignancy that Nina Simone delivered in her rendition. “Raining in My Heart’ (with Buddy Holly), “People Will Say We’re In Love” (with Ella Fitzgerald) are on the smooth commercial side. The oft covered Bill Withers chestnut “Grandma’s Hands” with Ben L’Oncle Soul though is just bursting with soul, as is “Insanity” with Lalah Hathaway, two of the better duets.

For the seasonal touch we have the snappy, effusive “Christmas Prayer” with Paloma Faith and the buoyant “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with Renee Fleming. Still Rising is a collection, well suitable for gift giving but if one is introducing the recipient to Porter for the first time, the giver would be better choosing some combination of Porter’s solo albums, especially those where he has written the material.

Disc 1

1 Hey Laura
2 Liquid Spirit
3 Revival
4 Illusion
5 1960 What?
6 L.O.V.E
7 Holding On
8 Concorde
9 If Love Is Overrated
10 I Will
11 Real Good Hands
12 My Babe
13 Bad Girl Love
14 No Love Dying
15 Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?
16 Dry Bones
17 Love Runs Deeper
18 It’s Probably Me

Disc 2

1 Natural Blues (with Moby & Amythyst Kiah)
2 Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (with Jamie Cullum)
3 Raining in My Heart (with Buddy Holly)
4 People Will Say We’re in Love (with Ella Fitzgerald)
5 GrandMas’ Hands (with Ben L’Oncle Soul)
6 Christmas Prayer (with Paloma Faith)
7 Insanity (with Lalah Hathaway)
8 Make Someone Happy (with Jeff Goldblum)
9 Fly Me to the Moon (with Julie London)
10 Satiated (with Dianne Reeves)
11 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (with Renée Fleming)
12 The Girl From Ipanema (with Nat King Cole)
13 Water Under Bridges (with Laura Mvula)
14 Right Where You Are (with Lizz Wright)
15 Heart and Soul (with Yo-Yo Ma & The Silkroad Ensemble, Lisa Fischer)
16 Making Love (with Trijntje Oosterhuis)

Gregory Porter nuevo álbum - Still Rising - The Collection: canciones y  letras | Deezer

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