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Gregory Porter’s largely self-penned major label debut is an artful and free-spirited blend of love songs, social commentary and reflections on life. The declamatory “Free” celebrates hard-working parents, “Hey Laura” captures love’s uncertainties and the title track is a clarion call for creativity. The lyrics are heart-on-sleeve, and occasionally odd, but Porter’s rich baritone oozes confidence and brings each syllable life. The road-tested band, led by pianist/musical director Chip Crawford, delivers mid-century soul with a romantic flourish; alto saxophonist Yosuke Sato confirms the working band vibe.

Gregory Porter

Liquid Spirit

(Blue Note)

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