Gregory Porter: A jazz legend in the making

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by Kevin Amos

There comes a time when you just know when you have hit on something right. This occurred to me when I first heard Gregory Porter and played his music on the air. He is the REAL deal, a jazz legend in the making.

GregoryPorter
GREGORY PORTER (Photo by Erin Perry)

Within this past two years Gregory Porter has exploded onto the international music scene with his marvelous voice. Porter returned to Pittsburgh for his second visit in the year when on April 3 he was the premier act for Jazz Appreciation Month.

Exhibiting his astounding vocal power, Gregory Porter has established himself as a formidable international touring artist. He has been called the next great voice in jazz as his popularity around the world grows immensely. The vocalist / songwriter / actor is the youngest of a family of 6 raised in Bakersfield, Calif., by a single mother who was also a minister.

Porter has an incredible working band, with whom he recorded his Grammy nominated debut “Water.” They have performed with him for over three years now: Chip Crawford on piano, Aaron James on bass, Emanuel Harold on drums, and Yosuke Sato on alto sax. These guys smoke!!!

Throughout the concert, Gregory gave each musician the space to stretch out on solos. His sax player took us down home on “Work Song” and during several other moments during the show.

We were treated to an dazzling seven song set that included “Mother’s Song,” “Greens and Blues,” “On My Way To Harlem,” “Skylark,” “Black Nile” and “Be Good,” the title tune from his new recording.

Porter is quick to point out that he is more painter than photographer. “My songs may start from a place of personal experience,” he explains, but he uses his poetic license freely. “I try not to impose any particular perspective on the music. I want listeners to be affected each in his or her way, and moved as much by what can be read in between the lines as what the lyrics say.”

Be sure to see Gregory Porter at some point real soon and hear his amazing voice. In the meanwhile check out his video, “Be Good”. http://youtube/9HvpIgHBSdo

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