GREGORY PORTER new album

 

ALL RISE  will be his sixth studio album, marks a return to Porter’s beloved original songwriting — heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues, and gospel. Produced by Troy Miller (Laura Mvula, Jamie Cullum, Emili Sandé), the set also represents the evolution of Porter’s art to something even more emphatic, emotive, intimate, and universal too.

„Yes, you could say that I went big,“ says Porter about his latest, which combines the talents of his longtime loyal bandmates, a handpicked horn section, a 10-member choir, and the London Symphony Orchestra Strings. „But, quite frankly, the way I write in my head, it all happens with just voice and piano first, and it’s built up from there. It feels good to get back to the rhythms and the styles and the feelings and the way that I like to lay down my own music from start to finish.“

REVIVAL seems to be  straight-up gospel. This what we’ve heard in church. When somebody caught the Holy Ghost this was the beat,” says Gregory of “Revival,” which was co-written with the album’s producer Troy Miller( produced Laura Mvula, Jamie Cullum, Emili Sandé). “Troy knows the importance of message in music, but the message that we both agreed on with the lyric was what I believe in, that renewal of the spirit and the energy. It’s both heavenly and earthly. You don’t have to be a believer to understand revival and renewal, starting all over again afresh. For me, it’s the message of walking into this life and having some fear and some self-doubt, and at the point that you grab onto something that you know is real, the truth. Once you can grab onto the truth then this fearlessness comes.”

While the strings were recorded at Abbey Road, the core of ALL RISE was made in two locations: in Los Angeles at the legendary Capitol Studios just a couple of hours from Porter’s Bakersfield home; and at a cozy studio in Paris‘ Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter, a historic hub for literature and jazz.

In fact, Porter himself wrestled with this album’s direction. Like many concerned citizens these days, he’d found himself obsessed with the politics of the day, every new song morphing into a response to the powers that be. It was unhealthy, and exactly the kinda thing those powers feed on: attention, influence, anger. So Porter scrapped nearly all of that, looked inward, upward, and around him, and arrived at a new raison d’être found in the title, ALL RISE. „We hear that phrase when presidents or judges come into the room,“ says Porter, „but I’m thinking all of us rise — not just one person being exalted. We are all exalted and lifted up by love. This is my political thought and my real truth. It comes from my personality, my mother’s personality, the personality of the blues, and of black people. It’s this idea of making do with the scraps, of resurrection and ascension, and of whatever the current situation is, it can get better through love.“

Drop the needle on „Revival“ and just try to pretend you aren’t lifted by the spirit no matter your personal faith or affiliation. Once again, Porter cuts through the noise of genres and the mess of life to reach us all where we live: the heart.

 

 

Philippe Cohen Solal New Album

Like wine, it’s interesting to put music through the test of time. Mind Food was composed and recorded in 2000, and it is only now that we can tell if it is a good vintage. Originally I had the idea to create music for an imaginary film or a film yet to be released. During this period of my life, I was composing a lot for featured films, documentaries or commercials. I’ve always enjoyed working under the constraint of a scenario or a director, but I also know that the best films are often those where the images were assembled on music that was already scored or recorded. „The Thomas Crown Affair“ with Steve Mc Queen & Faye Dunaway, which is the main reference for the arrangements on Mind Food, is one of these rare films, where the director Norman Jewison decided to follow the tempo of Michel Legrand’s score and not the other way around. Chassol who appears on this record also worked with me at this time, in fact it was one of his first „job“. Neither of us could have imagined then that he would go on to produce incredible work with the likes of Frank Ocean or Solange, yet Chassol has always produced his own brilliant solo material, musical performances and visuals like Indiamore, Big Sun or just recently Ludi. For the song „Inverno“, I had the chance to collaborate with a rare and precious singer, Green Gartside, frontman of the legendary band Scritti Politti, whose album Cupid & Psyche changed my youth in the 80s and whose sweet and fragile voice foreshadowed James Blake and the likes, 30 years earlier. There are also two wonderful female performers, Nivo Rahoerson, jazz singer of Malagasy origin for „The Signs“ and Gabriela Arnon, a New Yorker based in Paris, for the only cover on the album, the beautiful blue eyed soul and folk-jazz gem „Living’s worth loving“ by Bostonian brothers David & Robin Batteaux, circa 1973.

None of this music seeks to follow any current trends, but instead deliberately wants to slow time down so that you can catch your breath and feel which way the wind will blow, I am hoping then it will be into your curious and attentive ears.