When: Sat., Dec. 20, 8 p.m. 2014
Gregory Porter, the powerful baritone voice who writes his own music, is deemed “The Soul Poet” by DownBeat Magazine. Porter sang gospel music in church as a youth, worked in theater, wrote his own musical, Nat King Cole and Me before twenty years of artistic persistence would pay off. After appearing at the legendary jazz club, St. Nick’s Pub in Harlem, his career took a meteoric rise. Porter emerged with two award winning albums. Be Good and Liquid Spirit; Be Good being awarded the best traditional R&B performance in 2012 and “Liquid Spirit” a Grammy in 2014 for best jazz vocal album. The Kangol hat- wearing, Brooklyn-based singer has been compared to Donny Hathaway, Bill Withers and Lou Rawls. Porter’s music draws heavily from blues, jazz, R&B and most especially, gospel; his music embraces the struggle between joy and pain. His mentors were his mother, who had an operatic voice, and the elderly east Bakersfield preachers who oversaw the church choirs where he grew up. It was those little churches, which Porter credits with building his character and his musical foundation. With such a gifted soul voice, he makes jazz accessible even to people that usually cannot relate to it.