George Porter
"It's Life "

With the help of his talented musician friends (co-producer David Torkanowsky, Ivan Neville, John Gros, Brian Stoltz, Russell Batiste Jr., Stanton Moore, June Yamagishi, Terrence Higgins, horn chart arranger/trumpet player Tracy Griffin, and others), George Porter Jr. serves notice with a very hip and sophisticated style of New Orleans R&B/Funk on It's Life, that, needless to say, features Porter's old-school Funk virtuosity on his bass. This album includes ten originals, plus two sweet covers of songs from the songbook of the great Curtis Mayfield, and Porter's old bandmate Leo Nocentelli, who played with Porter Jr. with the legendary Meters, as well as with the recent supergroup The New Orleans Social Club.

It's Life is an above-par recording for a homemade product, which comes as no surprise given the depth of the musicians Porter assembled, as co-producers Torkanowsky and Porter did an excellent job making this a very personal statement. It should also be mentioned that Porter's childhood musician partner, Tracy Griffin, has crafted some heady, top-notch horn charts and arrangements, which really add a lot of depth and quality to this disk.

Standout tracks include the Zigaboo Modeliste/Porter-penned "All I Do Everyday," Curtis Mayfield's "Here But I'm Gone," the Leslie Smith/Porter tune "She Said," and Porter's gorgeous dedication to his old friend Earl King, "The Blues I Love," which was written by Porter, Torkanowsky, and Leslie Smith.

The only downer to this recording may be with distribution, as of this writing there is no major record label involved, plus it is likely that much of this material will never see the light of day in performance as Porter told me that due to lack of financial venue support that it will be near impossible to put any kind of a variation of this band on the road; truly a shame. It would have been neat to see this band (especially with horns) expand and workout with the exceptional tunes included on It's Life. But be that as it may be, we still have this neat recording to listen to for many years to come.

Bob Putignano: