For this exclusive performance, two-time GRAMMY-winner Gregory Porter sings the timeless songs of his greatest influence, Nat “King” Cole, in fresh arrangements by GRAMMY winner Vince Mendoza, accompanied by the Bay Area’s own Magik*Magik Orchestra under the direction of Mendoza himself.
The orchestral approach to this highly personal material is the focus of Porter’s new Blue Note album Nat “King” Cole & Me, about which Rolling Stone said, “Porter distils the wide-screen cinematic romance of the Forties, Fifties and Sixties, mantling his celebrated, honeyed baritone in glistening updrafts of strings, horns and woodwinds.” Porter broke through to mainstream stardom with his 2012 Blue Note debut Liquid Spirit, followed by 2016’s follow-up Take Me to the Alley — both winners of the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Nat “King” Cole & Me features a selection of Cole’s timeless music interpreted through Porter’s supple phrasing and his signature tough but tender delivery. Raised in Bakersfield, Porter grew up with seven siblings who all sang and worked in their mother’s skid row mission. Upon hearing the young Porter’s first attempts at singing, his mother compared his son’s voice to Cole, who became a father figure to the budding artist. Porter told the The Guardian, “My father wasn’t in my life. Nat’s songs filled a void.”