[ Blue Note / CD ]
Release Date: Friday 24 November 2017
Grammy-winning singing sensation Gregory Porter - one of the most successful jazz artists of his generation - is back with a new album, 'Nat King Cole & Me'. It is a deeply personal tribute to Nat King Cole - the legendary crooner who ignited Gregory's love of music. "It's only natural that I go to the root of my inspiration and where I come from. And that root would be my mother and gospel music and Nat King Cole," he says.
The new album marks the first time Gregory has recorded with a full orchestra and last night all 70 musicians were reunited with six-time Grammy-winning conductor and arranger Vince Mendoza at a special launch event in London. Gregory performed a handful of songs from his record in the beautiful surroundings of LSO St. Luke's in front of 150 guests.
Recorded at London's AIR Studios, the 12-track album features some of Gregory's favourite Nat King Cole tunes including 'Smile', 'L-O-V-E' and 'Nature Boy'. There is also a Nat-inspired arrangement of Gregory's own song 'When Love Was King', originally released on his million-selling hit album, 'Liquid Spirit'.
For Gregory Porter, the influence of Nat King Cole on his life and music runs deep, a through-line that reaches back into some of his earliest childhood memories, and culminates in the release of his new album 'Nat King Cole & Me'. Gregory explains, "At five or six years old, Nat's music filled a void in me. My father wasn't in my life and wasn't showing interest in me or raising me and Nat's words were the life lessons, words of wisdom and fatherly advice I needed."
Gregory's love for Nat's music blossomed so much that he wrote a semi-autobiographical musical, also called 'Nat King Cole & Me', which premiered in 2004. "After the play, I felt a lighter feeling about my father and a deeper appreciation for both my mother and the great music of Nat King Cole," says Gregory. He also found his voice through his own songwriting - "It wasn't until I wrote the musical that I was fit to call myself a songwriter. Before that, I would write different poems but they had no music."
1. Mona Lisa
3. Nature Boy
5. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas
6. Miss Otis Regrets
7. Pick Yourself Up
8. When Love Was King (arrangement of an original Gregory Porter composition from Liquid Spirit)
9. The Lonely One
11. I Wonder Who My Daddy Is
12. The Christmas Song