Water (Remastered) Gregory Porter

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  • 1Illusion03:04
  • 2Pretty06:21
  • 3Magic Cup06:12
  • 4Skylark08:17
  • 5Black Nile04:57
  • 6Wisdom09:31
  • 71960 What?12:27
  • 8But Beautiful05:36
  • 9Lonely One05:42
  • 10Water04:02
  • 11Feeling Good03:04
  • Total Runtime01:09:13

Info for Water (Remastered)

Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter’s seminal debut album Water is set for its first reissue, arriving in digital and physical formats via Blue Note France on April 8. The reissued edition of the record will include an updated recording of “1960, What?” remixed by Hungarian DJ and producer Opolopo.

“When I made Water, I [wanted to] say who I am, even though people were encouraging me just to make a record of standards,” Porter told Jazz.FM about his debut. “I had decided that I wanted to put some of my original music on the first record. I’m glad that I did, and I think the success of that gave me confidence to continue on with it.”

The origins of Water trace back to Brooklyn, NY where it was recorded in August 2009 with producer and arranger Kamau Kenyatta before and set for release in May 2010. Wanting a stable platform to showcase his standout vocal capabilities, Porter recorded the record in a live setting, putting a group of up-and-coming New York instrumentalists alongside seasoned jazz veterans in the same room. Among them appeared Chip Crawford, James Spaulding, Wayne Shorter, and Bobby Hutcherson.

Water garnered Porter a Grammy Award nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Album in 2011. It yielded the standout cuts “Skylark,” “But Beautiful,” and the a cappella take “Feeling Good,” immortalized by Nina Simone.

Christopher Loudon of JazzTimes stated "The intersection of Kurt Elling and Sammy Davis Jr. may seem an unfathomable junction, but that’s precisely where you’ll find Gregory Porter. On his debut album, consisting largely of original tunes that are as uniformly impressive as his sound, Porter takes the best of Davis-the superior interpretive skills, clarion tone and immaculate diction that were too often overwhelmed by staginess-and marries it to the best of Elling, complete with some solid scatting".

Phil Johnson of The Independent wrote "Tipped by Jamie Cullum as one to watch, Porter is a deep-voiced vocalist from Bakersfield, California. There's an obvious debt to Kurt Elling but Porter seems relatively unbound by technique, sounding less mannered and more soulful as a result".

Gregory Porter, vocals
James Spaulding, alto saxophone
Chip Crawford, piano

Digitally remastered

Gregory Porter
Raised in California, Porter’s mother was a minister, and he cites the Bakersfield Southern Gospel sound, as well as his mother’s Nat King Cole record collection, as fundamental influences on his own sound. Porter began singing in small jazz clubs in San Diego while attending San Diego State University on a football scholarship, where he played outside linebacker. Eventually it was music that Porter chose to pursue full-time at the encouragement of local musicians including his mentor Kamau Kenyatta.

Kenyatta invited Porter to visit him in the studio in Los Angeles, where he was producing flutist Hubert Laws' album Remembers the Unforgettable Nat King Cole. When Laws overheard Porter singing along while he was tracking the Charlie Chaplin song "Smile," he was so impressed with the young singer that he decided to include Porter on the album.

Another fortunate twist of fate was the presence that day of Laws' sister, Eloise, a singer who was soon to join the cast of a new musical theater production It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues. Porter had minimal theatrical experience but was cast in one of the show’s lead roles when the play opened in Denver, and he eventually followed it to Off-Broadway and then Broadway, where The New York Times, in its 1999 rave review, mentioned Porter among the show's "powerhouse line up of singers.” It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues went on to earn both Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations that year.

Porter eventually put down roots in Brooklyn, and in 2010 released his debut album Water (Motéma Music), which earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. His sophomore album Be Good (Motéma Music) followed in 2012 and earned him his second GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

Despite having now recorded or shared the stage with the likes of Van Morrison, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Nicola Conte, Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams and David Murray, Porter remains grounded and humbled by all the new accolades. “Sometimes I haven’t had a chance to absorb and enjoy some of the audiences that I’ve been in front of, especially some of the icons of the music like Wynton and Herbie,” Porter says, “And they give me so much open-arm love; I couldn’t fathom that two years ago.” With the release of Liquid Spirit, Porter’s soaring career will surely ascend even higher.

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