Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 8:00 PM EDT
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA
In the short time since Gregory Porter exploded onto the international music scene with his debut CD, Water, he has racked up a continuing stream of accolades and awards. Porter's Water garnered a 'Best Jazz Vocal ' Grammy® nomination (a rare feat for a debut recording), rocketed to #1 on both iTunes and Amazon in the UK, made significant sales inroads and has soared on to be included on an international array of year-end 'Best Of' lists for 2010 in several genres.
The happy result is that, in less than a year and a half, these successes have created a formidable draw for Porter as an international touring artist.
Porter's ascending star is viewed most brightly in Europe, especially in the UK, where he has performed on Jamie Cullum's BBC radio program, on Later with Jools Holland, as a featured guest at the London Jazz Festival and as one of two special guests on Carole King's 2011 BBC holiday television special. UK's Jazz Wise magazine named Water the #1 Jazz Album of 2011 (the first time a vocal album has achieved this distinction.). Meanwhile, across the channel in France and Belgium, press and radio have showered Porter with incredible accolades, lauding him as the new "Roi of Vocal Jazz," in both jazz and mainstream press outlets such as L'ExpressCrowned as "....the next big male vocal jazz star" by Allmusic.com, Gregory Porter was born in Los Angeles, raised in Bakersfield, and now lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. He got his start singing in small jazz clubs in San Diego, where he lived while at San Diego State University (which he attended on a football scholarship as an outside linebacker, until sidelined by a shoulder injury.) His first studio experience resulted in his being featured on Hubert Laws' Remembers the Unforgettable Nat King Cole (on "Smile"), a particularly apt start for a young man who, as a child, not only used to sing along to the Nat King Cole records his mother would play, but who would go on to impress theater audiences with a deeply personal one man show, Nat King Cole and Me. That show, which ran for two months at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, was preceded by Porter's work in "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues." Although he'd only had minimal prior theatrical experience (in the Doo Wop musical "Avenue X"), Porter eventually was cast in one of eight lead roles when the play opened in San Diego, and eventually followed it to Off-Broadway and then Broadway theater, where the New York Times, in its 1999 rave review, mentioned Porter among the show's "powerhouse line up of singers." "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues" went on to earn both Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations that year.