96kHz/24-bit, FLAC*; Blue Note 5791481 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
Like Mavis Staples, Gregory Porter brings an awareness of civil rights issues to his music, but this tribute to his hero, Nat ‘King’ Cole, was clearly made for the easy-listening Christmas market. The album opens with a swirl of strings as he launches into ‘Mona Lisa’. Porter’s voice has always sounded very much like that of Cole, of course, and his rich tones are undeniably warm and attractive. Yet his performance on many of these tracks is so note-perfect that it often feels like an impersonation rather than his own interpretation. There are some highlights, though. ‘Ballerina’ and ‘L-O-V-E’ both swing with infectious, toe-tapping energy, and there’s genuine yearning on ‘I Wonder Who My Daddy Is’. But then the album wraps up with ‘The Christmas Song’ – the one about ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’ – and everything becomes rather predictable once more. CJ
Sound Quality: 75%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
Porter’s lush voice notwithstanding, the man is crooning at 48kHz while his message is posted in a 96kHz envelope. So forget the LED on your DAC or proud boast of ‘96kHz’ on its display, for this file is obviously an upsample... PM
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