Gregory Porter has released ‘The Christmas Song’ as a stand-alone single. The track, which is out now, is accompanied by a video featuring Porter’s live performance of the song, which was filmed at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff for the singer’s 2018 BBC Christmas Special. You can check the video out below.
Porter’s inimitable take of ‘The Christmas Song’ originally appeared on Nat King Cole & Me, the much-respected jazz singer’s fifth studio album, which was released through Blue Note and Decca Records in October 2017. As the title suggests, the album features Porter singing songs that were either recorded by or inspired by Nat King Cole
Porter has cited Cole as an important part of his childhood and an influence on his career. “I was listening to Nat as a child, without my father around, these songs they hit me”, he said in an interview with the Official Charts website at the time of the album’s release.
“The emotion of the songs and the timbre of his voice. Also the messages that were in the songs. I was listening to Nat as a child, without my father around, these songs they hit me, ‘Pick Yourself Up’, ‘Smile’, ‘Nature Boy’.”
“They had, in a way, a fatherly advice type of vibe to them for me at that time. The songs coming out of the old console stereo and this big rich voice coming out those speakers.”
In the same interview, Porter went on to evaluate Nat ‘King’ Cole’s wider musical legacy and the way jazz has developed in recent years.
“Nat King Cole needs no help polishing his legacy, I don’t think”, he said. “I just want to speak on the encouragement, the influence and in a way the positivity of his music had on my musical approach and my musical career.
“Even though its Nat’s music, my story is there as well, which is why I say ‘Nat King Cole and Me’. ‘Love Was King’ was directly influenced by Nat King Cole, I sat down and wrote a song with the idea in my head to write a song for Nat King Cole. I literally heard his voice in my head.
“In terms of the legacy of jazz in general, I think people are in search of and finding their own voices. I hear even in the newer stuff, Robert Glasper, everybody has still got a small finger wrapped around the tradition of jazz and the history of the music, while making something really new.”