For the music world, Nat King Cole is one of the greatest musicians and singers to have ever moved between the worlds of jazz and pop. For the young Gregory Porter, however, he was even more – a father figure. At the Musikmesse Festival (2 to 6 April 2019), Porter will thank him with a musical tribute that gets under the skin: by singing Nat King Cole’s hits and evergreens with so much soul and feeling that listeners could well believe they are hearing them for the very first time. For the concert, he will be accompanied by the ‘Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt’, an orchestra that regularly appears with stars such as David Garrett, Deep Purple and José Carreras.
“A singer latches onto an artist, in a way to develop their own voice”, says Gregory Porter, “Then afterwards, they slowly take steps out of their comfort zone and develop their own voice.” And just as it is natural for singers to break away from their role models at a certain time in their careers, it is no less natural for them to return to them sometime later. So, after having established himself as an independent artist, Porter now feels the time has at last come to pay tribute to his father figure with a new album, ‘Nat King Cole & Me’. “It’s only natural that I go to the root of my inspiration and where I come from”, says Porter about his homage. “And that root would be my mother and gospel music and Nat King Cole”
Of course, Gregory Porter is not the first artist to have paid tribute to Nat King Cole. And he will certainly not be the last. So far, however, only Nat King Cole’s daughter, Natalie Cole, has succeeded in making such a personal and emotional homage to the legendary crooner, in her 1992 album, ‘Unforgettable… With Love’, which received three Grammys. At that time, she attracted particular attention with a posthumous duet. Wisely, Gregory Porter, who is blessed with a velvety baritone voice like that of Nat King Cole, has avoided such gimmicks. After all, his sensitive interpretations have no trouble getting under the skin just as they are.
Date: Saturday, 6 April 2019