Liquid Spirit marks Gregory Porter's Blue Note Records debut, which arrives on the heels of two critically acclaimed indie label albums that quickly propelled Porter to the upper echelon of contemporary male jazz singers and earned him two Grammy nominations. Don Was, President of Blue Note, encouraged Porter to stay true to his artistic vision. "I firmly consider myself a jazz singer but I enjoy blues, southern soul, and gospel," Porter says, "Those elements make their way inside my music. And I've always heard them in jazz."
The singer retains the same core musicians that accompanied him on his previous two discs — pianist and music director, Chip Crawford, drummer Emanuel Harrold, bassist Aaron James, alto saxophonist Yosuke Sato, and tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott. On a few selections, Porter complements that ensemble with trumpeter Curtis Taylor, and organist Glenn Patscha. Producer Brian Bacchus also returns, as well as arranger and associate producer Kamau Kenyatta. Porter describes the making of Liquid Spirit as very organic. "I didn't say, ‘OK, this is a Blue Note record, let me get a Freddie Hubbard sound,'" Porter explains, "I didn't have any agenda with this record."
Porter wields one of the most captivating baritone voices in music today. It emits enormous soul that conveys both the emotions and intellect of any given song without relying on vocal histrionics. In The New York Times, Nate Chinen wrote: "Gregory Porter has most of what you want in a male jazz singer, and maybe a thing or two you didn't know you wanted." Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater praised Porter in the pages of JazzTimes by saying, "We haven't had a male singer like him in a long time. He's such a wonderful writer. He's a story teller."