Take Me to the Alley

Album Review of Take Me to the Alley by Gregory Porter.

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Take Me to the Alley

Gregory Porter

Take Me to the Alley by Gregory Porter

Release Date: May 6, 2016
Record label: Blue Note
Genre(s): Jazz

77 Music-Critic Score
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Take Me to the Alley - Very Good, Based on 6 Critics

PopMatters - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

In 2013, Gregory Porter made his debut with jazz’s premiere label, Blue Note, with Liquid Spirit, a record that was just about perfect in its way. Porter had already been nominated for a couple Grammys based on previous work, and Spirit won for Best Jazz Vocal. The singer owns a soulful, flexible, expressive baritone and a gift for writing songs that coo and shout and tell personal stories.

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The Guardian - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

There’s something striking about the press reviews of singer-songwriter Gregory Porter’s third album, Liquid Spirit (2013). They’re all written by specialist jazz critics, full of references to the singer’s rhythmic phrasing, the tasty call-and-response between bass and vocals and the steady eighth-note strut in the right hand of the title track’s piano solo. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

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AllMusic - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

With 2013's Liquid Spirit, jazz singer and songwriter Gregory Porter's Blue Note debut, he accomplished what few in his vocation have in recent decades -- sold over a million albums globally. He also won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. In addition, in 2015, U.K. electronic unit Disclosure released "Holding On" -- a co-write with the singer that featured his vocal -- as the lead single from their Caracal album.

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Pitchfork - 67
Based on rating 6.7/10
67

In May 2015, Disclosure released a song called “Holding On,” a dance tune that put singer Gregory Porter on full display. The collaboration likely wasn’t a big deal for Disclosure fans: The group works with big name R&B singers quite often; compared to Sam Smith or Miguel, Porter is certainly under the radar. For Porter, though, the feature was somewhat surprising given his career path.

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Los Angeles Times
Their review was positive

Last year Gregory Porter told me that “Holding On,” his sleek, skittering collaboration with the British dance duo Disclosure, started out as a bare-bones piano ballad. Given how much I'd thought of Porter’s fine 2013 album, “Liquid Spirit,” this was something I had to hear. Now I can: A handsome, slow-and-low rendition of “Holding On” — not merely unplugged, but with different chords that alter the vibe of the song — opens Porter’s new record, “Take Me to the Alley,” due Friday.

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Boston Globe
Their review was positive

Whatever his subject matter, the 44-year-old jazz singer-songwriter Gregory Porter has never strayed far from the church of his childhood, and this fourth album as a leader, his second for Blue Note, continues his soul-preacher style — or, as he has called it, “songs of love and protest. ” The title cut imagines a kind of secular second coming (“They will be surprised/ when they hear him say/ Take me to the alley/ take me to the afflicted ones”), with consoling vocal harmony by Alicia Olatuja. “Holding On,” which Porter originally recorded with the British electronica outfit Disclosure, here gets a simmering, subdued treatment, accented by the hi-hat’s swish and tick and muted-trumpet obbligato.

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