Gregory Porter – One Night Only: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, album review

Gregory Porter – One Night Only: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, album review

One Night Only: Live at the Royal Albert Hall is the latest release from Gregory Porter, on Decca Records. Recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year, it is his first live release and it confirms why he is one of the best vocalists of his generation. His vocals are effortless and the album which this tour recording was in support of, was dedicated to the great Nat King Cole, but it has to be said Gregory Porter would easily and comfortably sit at the same table.

I was lucky enough to see the Birmingham show of this tour, and whilst he was pitch perfect, I was slightly disappointed there was no orchestra, as afforded to the songs on the original album. Indeed, this new release does feature such and it adds yet more glory to these beautiful songs. Even better for those who’ve not had the honour to witness Porter live there is also an accompanying DVD with this release, which allows you to enjoy the whole spectacle.

For those of you not familiar with Gregory there is an ample back catalogue, and I’d suggest starting with Liquid Spirit, but for a complete overview this new album is perfect. There are covers as well as original material, and personally it’s hard to pick a favourite out, but if pushed When Love was King would be one choice, a majestical song, highlighting perfectly the Porter range. There is of course I Wonder Who My Daddy Is, and I recall this from the live show I attended, it was the most beautiful, tender song, just a simple piano accompaniment, and enough to melt the hardest heart. This new album is worth buying for this song alone.

Gregory Porter is a busy man, when not touring (which appears to be a constant) then he’s recording. He next visits these shores in May 2019 for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. This will sell out, and deservedly so.

He is a modern day great, and in time reflection will only hold him in even higher regard with his name mentioned in the same breath as the like of Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. He tells the audience that his Mother told him as a young boy he sounded like Nat King Cole, and that she wished him to pursue a career in music rather than sport, which he did almost by default due to an injury on the playing field. He never felt he sounded like his idol, but to many ears he does, and those who listen and watch this new CD/DVD release will hold him in even more admiration. For those of us who have already seen him live, it just cements what we already know.

One Night Only: Live at the Royal Albert Hall is out now on Decca Records

Reviewer: Glenn Raybone

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