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    INTERVIEW: GREGORY PORTER

    Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore speaks with Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter about his new tribute album "Nat "King" Cole and Me".

    WHO: Gregory Porter

    WHAT: Nat "King" Cole and Me

    WHERE: Where you buy music

    WHEN: Available now!

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    WEBSITES: http://www.gregoryporter.com/ 

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    Soul Jazz Superstar Gregory Porter Announces New Album Nat King Cole & Me

    New Album is Personal Tribute to Porter’s Earliest Musical Hero


    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, to be released October 27 via  Decca/Blue Note/Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company. It is a deeply personal tribute to Nat King Cole – the legendary crooner who ignited Porter’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 Porter 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. Porter 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 Porter’s favourite Nat King Cole tunes including “Smile”, “L-O-V-E” and “Nature Boy”. There is also a Nat-inspired arrangement of Porter’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. Porter 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.”


    Porter’s love for Cole’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 Porter. 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.”


    Nat King Cole & Me is the follow-up to his Grammy-winning albums Liquid Spirit (2013) and Take Me to the Alley (2016). Liquid Spirit took Porter from being the biggest name on the jazz scene to being one of the most sought-after singers around today, performing sell-out shows across the globe and being invited to perform on high profile TV programs including The Graham Norton Show, Strictly Come Dancing and the BBC Music Awards. He has become an adopted national treasure in the UK, having sung for the Queen multiple times, as well as major music festivals including Glastonbury, where he performed on the Pyramid Stage alongside the likes of Muse, Adele and Coldplay. Porter’s ability to transcend genres even extends to his surprise dance hit “Liquid Spirit Claptone Remix” which became one of the most popular tracks in Ibiza.


    After winning over audiences with his rich and soulful voice, there can be no better time for Gregory Porter to return to the music which first inspired him to become a singer. On Nat’s legacy and influence Porter affirms, “He was one of a kind. He left such great music – such beautiful things to listen to that you can’t help but be influenced by that extraordinary timbre, style, and ultimate cool.”


    Tracklisting:


    Mona Lisa

    Smile

    Nature Boy

    L-O-V-E

    Quizas, Quizas, Quizas

    Miss Otis Regrets

    Pick Yourself Up

    When Love Was King (arrangement of an original Gregory Porter composition from Liquid Spirit)

    The Lonely One

    Ballerina

    I Wonder Who My Daddy Is

    The Christmas Song





    Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore is heard at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays during the Jazz FM91 Arts Report. And don’t miss his arts and culture interview and entertainment magazine program, Arts Toronto, Sundays between 8-9 a.m.


    To get in touch with Mark it’s mwigmore@jazz.fm


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