Gregory Porter is welcomed with ovation on any stage in the world these days. The deep, dulcet tones that pull every audience member into the palm of his hand have won Gregory Porter great acclaim, Grammys, and the utter respect of the entire music industry. Porter’s latest album on Bluenote Records, “Nat ‘King’ Cole & Me,” is a project purely from this heart. As one of seven children growing up in Bakersfield, CA under the living example of faith and genuine ministry of his mother, he recalls the songs of Nat King Cole being innately driven into his being, even though he did not possess the actual great albums at the time.

Feeling the spirit

Many in the current generation recognize Nat King Cole only for his legendary rendition of Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song.” No song encapsulates and conjures the full feeling of Christmas more than the verses that open with “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose…” Gregory Porter captures the essence of Nat King Cole elegance without a hint of imitation, carrying tradition with the highest honor and the Porter touch.

When it comes to morning TV appearances, most artists are grappling with just trying to be warmed up vocally in sunlight hours. Gregory Porter, however, looked like he just stepped out of a Christmas card for his December 13 “Today” performance.

Wearing a vest, debonair grey-patterned suit, and pocket square, along with his essential ear-flapped beret that conceals scars of skin surgery several years ago, Gregory Porter was a portrait of class personified singing the classic. He was accompanied by his full complement of his touring jazz ensemble, along with a full, 14-piece string orchestra.

In a time when even the ultimate award show performances are dubbed and tape-looped, not to mention the occasional lip sync, this kind of delivery is hardly ever brought to any stage, much less a morning TV segment. Leave it to Gregory Porter to deliver Christmas spirit in style, beyond his incredible voice.

Here, there, and everywhere

Many fans describe the experience of a Gregory Porter performance as a religious experience, and that feeling echoes from the artist himself, in songs like the title song from his Grammy-winning album, “Take Me to the Alley,” a street-wise sermon on the Mount, rife with his mother's lessons. Porter has just added a third London concert date in April at the Royal Albert Hall. It is expected to be a sell-out and will feature the full orchestra and band for the London shows only on his UK tour.

Gregory Porter heard “fatherly advice” through the music of Nat King Cole, especially in songs like “Nature Boy.” “There was a sense of ‘Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going,” the singer explained to Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.

Listening to Cole’s catalog was a comfort from the age of six for the boy growing up without a father. Last month, Jon Batiste joined Gregory Porter on “The Late Show” for a moving collaboration of “Nature Boy.”

“Thank you for singing that so pure, straight, and sweet,” Kathie Lee spoke to the singer after he closed “The Christmas Song.” Voices of gratitude will soon be multiplied for Gregory Porter, as he provides his songs sure to spark lingering Christmas joys.