An artist whose music is at once timeless yet utterly of its time, Gregory Porter solidifies his standing as his generation’s most soulful jazz singer-songwriter with the May 6 release of Take Me to the Alley, the much-anticipated follow-up to his million-selling Grammy-winning 2013 Blue Note debut Liquid Spirit. The album pre-order has launched today along with the release of two singles—“Holding On” and “Don’t Lose Your Steam”—which fans will receive instantly when pre-ordering a download of the album. The album is also available for pre-order on CD, and the singles are also available on streaming services.
“Holding On” was premiered yesterday on Apple Music’s Beats 1 and finds Porter presenting his decidedly different version of the Disclosure single that he was the featured vocalist on and co-wrote for their album Caracal. “I decided to do the song the way that I would have recorded it on my record,” Porter says. “It’s a way of saying that a song is a song is a song. The lyrics and the intention of the song come through no matter what kind of bells and whistles are going on.” The rousing, bluesy stomp “Don’t Lose Your Steam” is dedicated to Porter’s three-year-old son with encouraging lyrics about staying committed one’s goals regardless of hardship. Watch Porter perform “Don’t Lose Your Steam” live at Capitol Studios.
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Liquid Spirit – which followed Porter’s critically-acclaimed and GRAMMY-nominated albums Water (2010) and Be Good (2012) – was released in the Fall of 2013 and quickly grew into a global phenomenon, selling a million albums worldwide and becoming the most streamed jazz album of all-time with over 20 million streams. The album sold Platinum in the U.K. and Germany, and in the U.S. Porter made his first-ever national TV appearances on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live while ESQUIRE and NPR Music both declared him “America’s Next Great Jazz Singer.” Liquid Spirit also won Porter his first GRAMMY Award in 2014 for Best Jazz Vocal Album while also earning him a Best Traditional R&B Performance nomination for his affecting ballad “Hey Laura.”
In the Fall of 2015 Porter finally found the time to return to the studio in New York City to record Take Me To The Alley. As he’s done on his previous three albums, Porter teamed with producer Kamau Kenyatta to craft a collection of stirring originals that juxtapose the personal and political. His partnership with Kenyatta started in the mid-1990s when he was a student at San Diego State University (Porter began his college years playing football on a full athletic scholarship before a shoulder injury diverted him into a music career). It was through Kenyatta’s mentorship that Porter’s professional musical career began.
Reinforcing their well-honed rapport is the return of Porter’s core accompanying musicians – pianist and music director Chip Crawford, bassist Aaron James, drummer Emanuel Harrold, alto saxophonist Yosuke Sato, and tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott. Singer Alicia Olatuja, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, and organist Ondrej Pivec also make appearances throughout.