Album Review: Nat King Cole & Me by Gregory Porter
Fairly Good, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
On his fifth studio album, 2017's lovingly produced Nat "King" Cole & Me, singer Gregory Porter takes a purposefully traditional approach, paying tribute to one of his biggest influences, legendary vocal icon Nat King Cole. To help craft his tribute, Porter recorded the album with Grammy Award-winning arranger Vince Mendoza and the illustrious London Studio Orchestra, as well as several tracks featuring Los Angeles studio stalwarts. Also on board are Porter's longtime bandmates, pianist Christian Sands, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Ulysses Owens.
G regory Porter has become jazz music's biggest crossover star in decades without appearing to compromise. He sings standards, references 1960s civil rights anthems and allows his heavyweight hard-bop band plenty of space to improvise - while becoming a fixture on teatime telly and the Radio 2 playlist. This collection of Nat King Cole songs, however, presumably aimed at the Christmas market, sees him go the full Bublé.
Following on from last year's Grammy Award-winning 'Take Me To The Alley', Gregory Porter returns with a project entirely dedicated to his idol, Nat King Cole. Although cynics may have this marked as a rushed album, capitalising on Porter's recent success, it is difficult to deny the Californian's vocal prowess or the luxurious production throughout the record. Aside from Porter himself, the classic tracks are brought to life with the help of the London Studio Orchestra, who do an excellent job of pushing the songs to an even grander scale.