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It’s something of a rite of passage for most musical artists – yes, recording the much-maligned Christmas album! Latest “name” to offer us a Christmas selection box is dear old GREGORY PORTER. Now we know that the Cat in the Jazz Hat has recorded Christmas songs before – there are a couple on his ‘Still Rising’ album, a version of ‘The Christmas Song’ on his Nat Cole tribute long player and a Gospel/Yuletide collaboration with Anita Wilson. Now, though, our man’s gearing up to deliver a whole album’s worth of Christmas music. The set is ‘Christmas Wish’ and it’ll be available via Blue Note/Decca Records on November 3rd. Yes, his team believe in getting in early!

Any new Porter recording is something special and his ‘Christmas Wish’ is a special kind of Festive album; you  see it offers plenty of the usual chestnuts ( e.g ‘Silent Night’ and  ‘Little Drummer Boy’) but there are  some more esoteric selections like a treatment of ‘Christmas Waltz’ (originally recorded by Frank Sinatra) and a cover of the standard ‘What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve’ – offered here in duet format with Samara Joy.

More interesting  from our point of view are covers of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Purple Snowflakes’ (Gaye’s Christmas take on his ‘Pretty Little Baby’, of course) and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Someday At Christmas’. As interesting are three new self-penned songs. They are the album’s title track, ‘Heart For Christmas’ and  ‘Everything’s Not Lost’  which Poter says delivers a message about balance: “I’m always thinking of balance. That has been instilled in me and it keeps coming up in a lot of my music. At your highest, at your greatest, at your most pleasant time, don’t forget about other people who are suffering.”

‘Christmas Wish’ features the singer’s’ long-time band and was produced by repeat collaborator Troy Miller in New York and London, with the lush orchestral contributions recorded at Abbey Road. It’s released Friday November 3rd via Blue Note/Decca Records. More good news? Gregory will soon be touring with his band. He returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall (after three sold-out shows there earlier this year) for a special, one-off and highly anticipated performance on 13th December, 2023.