August 24, 2020 Gregory Porter – All Rise (Album Review)
American Singer-Songwriter Gregory Porter has led quite an interesting life. The son of a mother who was a minster, he went on to receive a full football scholarship out of high school, but sadly had his career cut short due to injury. Then, as if that was not rough enough, Porter tragically lost his mother to cancer when he was only 21 years of age. Events that could break any man, he fortunately realized his greater purpose, pursuing music, and becoming a a two-time Grammy Award winner. Which leads us to 2020 where Porter returns with his brand new album All Rise on Friday, August 28, 2020 via Blue Note Records.
His sixth overall studio album since 2010, for those who are not exactly sure who Mr. Porter is, he is best described as an easy on the ears Jazz singer of another kind. Improbably making his way into the mainstream as such, if anything it is a testament to how sometimes talent overrides what is trendy or popular among the masses. That said, All Rise comes at a great time where the world can use some hope.
Being released as standard edition (13 tracks), a deluxe edition (15 tracks), and digital deluxe edition (16 tracks), the album offers uplifting church-like hymns that could brighten anyone’s day. A splash of sunshine in dark times clouded by COVID-19, it all begins strongly with “Concorde,” an impressive track where the arrangements are so rich in detail yet not overloaded. In fact, every instrument is in perfect unison with Porter’s baritone voice that shines bright as the cherry on top.
A standard throughout, the mellow, cool vibe of the album possesses the ability to pull you in with moving rhythms and irresistible melodies. With every tone and infliction nestling under your skin, with a Gospel choir in the backdrop, “Dad Gone Thing” adds some spirituality to it all. This is while the deep bass of “Merchants of Paradise” comes in with a powerful message, and “Phoenix” paints a vivid picture of the importance of love.
With these handful of tracks mentioned, the lyrics amidst the entirety of All Rise tell amazing stories also worth listening to closely. All coming from the heart, the human emotions Porter carries in his voice will not only fill the room, but the souls of all who are listening. This is evident even more so with slower sway-along tracks like the album’s single “If Love Is Overrated,” or the danceable, catchy “Revival,” as well as with the unwavering honesty of “Real Truth.” Bright and colorful, together they all form a beautiful picture worth gazing into.
While each song is strong its own right, the whole album will not leave anyone behind without having touched them deeply. Music for all seasons, situations, and moods, All Rise is a timeless yet timely collection. Music to sooth the soul, Cryptic Rock gives it 5 out of 5 stars.