This April, Porter returns to Colston Hall following the release of his fifth and most successful album to date, writes James Higgins
He’s one of the smoothest and most charismatic performers on the live music circuit – Gregory Porter has won two Grammy awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and with his fifth album, released last year, cemented his impressive back catalogue of modern jazz classics.
Gregory’s style – for anyone who doesn’t immediately associate that statement cap with honey-toned jazz – is very inspired by Nat King Cole. His latest album is even entitled Nat King Cole and I. His repertoire recalls a bygone age – quite literally in some cases – with his cover of 1964’s The “In” Crowd originally performed by Dobie Gray, and his first self-penned hit Be Good (Lion’s Song) telling in sanguine-style the pain of a friend’s unrequited love. Porter himself described it as a ‘grown-man’s lullaby’ that came to him as he rode home on a bicycle after a break-up.
Originally, Gregory aspired to roam a football field as a lineman, but after an ill-fated rough and tumble match at college, a shoulder injury halted his plans. As a child, he was encouraged by his mother – who was also a minister – to sing in church choir. Moving to New York in 2004, he balanced cheffing with a residence at a Harlem pub, called St Nick’s. It took six years of playing in the city with his band before he was signed.
Although his professional career began in 2010, it wasn’t until his third album, Liquid Spirit, that Porter gained international recognition. It won him legions of fans and his first Grammy award. His recognition in the UK has proved even greater than in his home nation – his last three albums have been top 10 hits and classified gold or platinum here. Liquid Spirit was so successful that it sold 10 times as many copies in the UK than the US! Porter even spoke of his love for the UK after playing Glastonbury to packed crowds. Given his popularity, tickets are likely to sell-out quickly for what promises to be an unbeatable night of classic jazz.
When: April 3, 7.30pm
Where: Colston Hall
Ticket Price: £45.69