14

Gregory Porter/Donald Smith/Mansur Scott: Great Voices Of Harlem

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Gregory Porter/Donald Smith/Mansur Scott: Great Voices Of Harlem Harlem has long been known as an incubator for talent, birthing and/or nurturing some of the all-time greats in music, literature, and art. Nearly a century separates the dawning of the famed Harlem Renaissance and the creation of this album, but Great Voices Of Harlem serves as undeniable proof that this large neighborhood at the north end of Manhattan still holds artistic treasures within its borders.

Great Voices Of Harlem, in some respects, isn't just a nod to three great talents that were honed and developed in Harlem; it's a recorded microcosm of the vocal jazz scene at St. Nick's Pub. That's where Austrian pig farmer/jazz festival organizer/band leader Paul Zauner met the three men that make magic on this date. Vocalist/pianist Donald Smith, the then-unknown, now-renowned Gregory Porter, and the man known as "the jazz mayor of Harlem"—vocalist Mansur Scott—all left an indelible mark on Zauner. In the summer of 2012, he managed to get all three of them to Austria to record with his Blue Brass band, and this album is the end result.

Porter's deep, resounding soul vocals, Scott's storyteller savoir-faire, and Smith's put-it-all-out-there, shoot for the stars singing are all on display at various times on a program that largely focuses on new arrangements of old favorites. Porter tips his cap to Nat "King" Cole with "Mona Lisa," shines on a lively "Moanin,'" and brings shape and depth to an indigo-dyed "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"; Smith works different angles, soaring and screeching along at the end of "Expansions" and giving a highly nuanced performance of "My One And Only Love"; and Scott is completely captivating whether spinning a story, as on "Doing Hard Time," or gussying up an old warhorse like "Days Of Wine And Roses." He goes over the top on occasion, but it's that enthusiasm that defines his work and elevates the majority of his performances.

While the world has quickly come to know and adore Porter, this album gives some well-earned attention to Smith and Scott; all three men are the vocal embodiment of the spirit, soul and sophistication that is Harlem.

Track Listing: Moanin'; Intro Peace; Peace; Expansions; Somewhere Over The Rainbow; Doing Hard Time; Stella By Starlight; Watermelon Man; My One And Only Love; Days Of Wine And Roses; Mona Lisa; Song For My Father.

Personnel: Gregory Porter: vocals (1, 3, 5, 11); Mansur Scott: vocals (2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11); Donald Smith: vocals (3, 4, 8, 9), piano, Fender Rhodes; Paul Zauner: trombone; Barney Girlinger: trumpet, flugelhorn; Klaus Dickbauer: alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Klemens Pliem: tenor saxophone, alto flute; Martin Reiter: piano, Fender Rhodes; Wolfram Derschmidt: bass; Howard Curtis: drums.

Title: Great Voices Of Harlem | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Pao Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Altadena" CD/LP/Track Review Altadena
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41" CD/LP/Track Review Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Miguel Angelo Quarteto: A Vida de X" CD/LP/Track Review Miguel Angelo Quarteto: A Vida de X
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "The Deep" CD/LP/Track Review The Deep
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Infinitude" CD/LP/Track Review Infinitude
by John Kelman
Published: January 20, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.