Billy Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers (2017) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Billy Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 51:00 minutes |  600 MB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  | Source: HDTracks | Front cover | © Masterworks Broadway

The new creative vision of Tony and Grammy Award-winning artist Billy Porter featuring new, soulful tracks on classic Richard Rodgers songs. Broadway and music’s biggest contemporary stars join Porter on the album, including Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton), Patina Miller (Pippin), and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton), Grammy Award winners Pentatonix and India.Arie, Tony Award nominees Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along), Joshua Henry (Violet), and Christopher Jackson (Hamilton), alongside YouTube sensation Todrick Hall and multiple Grammy Award nominees Deborah Cox and Ledisi. This album marks Porter’s fourth studio album – his first as producer and content curator.

Billy Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers may come as a bit of surprise to his theater fans, following two other Broadway-themed records that took on a more, shall we say, orchestra-pit-friendly demeanor. Even 2005’s appropriately titled At the Corner of Broadway + Soul, a live album with relatively limited accompaniment, kept its footing in the showmanship and vibrato of the Great White Way. Here, Porter instead commits to a decidedly urban contemporary approach, in terms of both production and delivery. It’s a sound that recalls the ’80s and ’90s, including, for longtime Porter fans, his Untitled debut from 1997. The record is also meaningfully a “Billy Porter Presents” rather than a “Billy Porter Sings” album; he is featured on five of its twelve tracks, mostly duets. Those and the rest of the set are loaded with high-powered guests, who share over a half-dozen Tony and Grammy Awards, and many more nominations, between them. (Porter himself won a Tony in 2013 for Best Actor in a Musical for Kinky Boots.) They include Hamilton original Broadway cast members Leslie Odom, Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Christopher Jackson. The latter two reimagine “If I Loved You” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel with jazzy keyboards, funky bass, and a small chorus of soulful backing vocals. In a perhaps surprising move, given that it’s often a highlight wherever it appears, Porter hands over Rodgers & Hart’s “My Funny Valentine” to 2016 Tony winner Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple), who does a smooth R&B rendition befitting the album’s sultry tone. Among the more unexpected guests are Pentatonix, who open the track list with a stylized, syncopated soul twist on “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” backing Porter’s lead. Porter also does a duet with India.Arie, “Carefully Taught,” from South Pacific, that’s one of a few socially conscious tunes in the rotation. Also from South Pacific, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” apparently selected for the phrase, is made into one. A duet between our presenter and Todrick Hall, it quickly trades the show tune’s melody for some scathing and timely raps and vocal vamps directed at a certain reality star-turned-president (“Show him what the door is for”). A funky “Lady Is a Tramp” with rapper Zaire Park also takes liberties with the lyrics, and a solo Porter closes the album with a song he performed for Concert for America, which offered counterprogramming for Donald Trump’s inauguration earlier in 2017. It’s an R&B-styled reinvention of “Edelweiss” that maintains the original’s sincerity and political subtext, with added commentary. For listeners not put off by the non-traditional takes or its 2017 context, the album delivers on talent and soul – with gusto.

01. Billy Porter & Pentatonix – Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
02. Billy Porter & Leslie Odom, Jr. – My Romance
03. Renee Elise Goldsberry, Christopher Jackson & Billy Porter – If I Loved You
04. Brandon Victor Dixon, Joshua Henry & Billy Porter – With A Song In My Heart
05. Billy Porter & Patina Miller – I Have Dreamed
06. Billy Porter & Cynthia Erivo – My Funny Valentine
07. Billy Porter & Todrick Hall – I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair
08. Billy Porter & Deborah Cox – This Nearly Was Mine
09. Billy Porter & Ledisi feat. Zaire Park – Bewitched
10. Billy Porter & India.Arie – Carefully Taught
11. Billy Porter feat. Zaire Park – Lady Is A Tramp
12. Billy Porter – Edelweiss



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