Come see Grammy-winning American jazz vocalist and songwriter, Gregory Porter at TPAC’s James K. Polk Theater on June 4, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
It’s a sentiment that’s of a piece with the slow burning success of Liquid Spirit, released last autumn as the first fruits of Porter’s new worldwide deal with Blue Note Records, and now back in the UK mainstream charts and nearing the Top 10.
Porter has been is slowly, measuredly building his craft. It’s a work ethic – dogged, patient, respectful – that Porter learned at his mother’s knee in Bakersfield, California. Bakersfield was an epicentre of country music, but it’s mostly migrated population – from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi – had also brought with it gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, soul. This rich mixture goes some way to explaining the power and impact of Porter’s music. But he’s the first to admit that it also means it can be confusing to purists.
“I’m fully aware that everything I do doesn’t adequately please jazz traditionalists,” he says with a shrug. But he likes it that way – likes being able to appeal to the Cheltenham Jazz crowds and the younger fans of Peterson, the respected, genre-hopping DJ doyen.
But in the end it always comes back to the music. For Gregory Porter the songs, and their messages, and their power, literally are the be-all and end-all.