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Gregory Porter: Water

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The intersection of Kurt Elling and Sammy Davis Jr. may seem an unfathomable junction, but that’s precisely where you’ll find Gregory Porter. On his debut album, consisting largely of original tunes that are as uniformly impressive as his sound, Porter takes the best of Davis-the superior interpretive skills, clarion tone and immaculate diction that were too often overwhelmed by staginess-and marries it to the best of Elling, complete with some solid scatting.

Porter aptly refers to Water as “an album of love and protest,” though love is the clear victor. From the starkly beautiful “Illusion,” a hushed ode to a lost paramour; and rapturous “Pretty,” reminiscent of “A Taste of Honey”; to the percolated joy of “Magic Cup,” Porter knows how to get to the heart of the matter. He is also a fine balladeer, as demonstrated on pristine, minimalist readings of “Skylark” and “But Beautiful.”

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