Following 2017’s Nat King Cole & Me, a loving dedication to his lifelong idol, ALL RISE marks a return to Porter’s beloved original songwriting — heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues, gospel, and pop. The album, which was produced by Troy Miller, also represents the evolution of Porter’s art to something even more emphatic, emotive, intimate, and universal too.
“Yes, you could say that I went big,” says Porter about his latest, which combines the talents of his longtime loyal bandmates, a handpicked horn section, a 10-member choir, and the London Symphony Orchestra Strings. “But, quite frankly, the way I write in my head, it all happens with just voice and piano first, and it’s built up from there. It feels good to get back to the rhythms and the styles and the feelings and the way that I like to lay down my own music from start to finish.”
As Porter worked out this album’s direction, he looked inward, upward, and around him, and arrived at a raison d’être found in the title, ALL RISE. “We hear that phrase when presidents or judges come into the room,” says Porter, “but I’m thinking all of us rise — not just one person being exalted. We are all exalted and lifted up by love. This is my political thought and my real truth. It comes from my personality, my mother’s personality, the personality of the blues, and of black people. It’s this idea of making do with the scraps, of resurrection and ascension, and of whatever the current situation is, it can get better through love.”