On his sure but steady rise to stardom, the gentle, genial Gregory Porter has taken solace from the voice of his musical father figure Nat King Cole, so it was only a matter of time before he produced his own tribute to the great crooner, an homage which feels all the more appropriate in that Porter is a 21st century Cole, able to bridge genre and generation gaps with his generous, welcoming spirit and the comfort and integrity of his singing.
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow ****
He hardly needed to emphasise his credentials to this animated capacity crowd, yet he further ingratiated himself with tales of his former football team, nicknamed the Mighty Scotsmen, a title he happily reclaimed for one night only, while pianist Chip Crawford improvised around Scotland the Brave.
Crawford took the honours on the more exposed ballads but Porter’s entire band were superb, individually and communally, infusing soulful flavours with cool jazz brass as evinced by the Donald Byrd-like On My Way To Harlem, while Porter brought a bluesy timbre to Don’t Lose Your Steam and poured out some gospel balm on Take Me To The Alley.
His storytelling skills were showcased tenderly on I Wonder Who My Daddy Is, its mellow ache reflected in a burst of Papa Was A Rolling Stone. Even better, his rendition of Mona Lisa was pure pin-drop perfect class, truly breathing fresh perspective into a familiar standard in his modest yet mighty fashion.