Nobody Knows My Name

Jazz Singer Gregory Porter, Soul to the Bone

Jazz Singer Gregory Porter, Soul to the Bone

Saxophone-legend Kenny G may have been the headliner for the first night of Syracuse Jazz Fest on Friday, but Grammy-nominated vocalist Gregory Porter stole the show.

A self-described preachers kid, Gregory impressed those in attendance at Jamesville Beach with songs such as Be Good, On My Way to Harlem, and Mother’s Song.  These Sophistasoultastic cuts conjure up images of the Cosby Show of the 80s, Spike Lee’s early films and even the choreography of Garth Fagan.

His song-writing is vivid and his performance high spirited.

To call Porter a jazz singer may be restrictive. His mature and robust sound may be jazz, but it’s corseted in soul and the cadence of his church rearing.

Gregorty Porter, a singer's singer

Gregory Porter, a singer’s singer

Some singers are vanguards.  Nat had it. Donny had it. Ray had it. Sam had it. Stevie has it and yes Porter too, has that vibe of a pioneer.

Jazz Fest Producer Frank Malfitano even said he was one of the most talented jazz singers of the last 3 decades.

During the finale Porter mesmerized the crowd with 1960 What, a homage to cities such as Detroit. Coincidentally,  Malfitano used to produce that city’s Jazz Fest.

New fans showered Porter with appreciation during an impromptu meet-and-greet beside the stage following his set. Many shared their disbelief that they weren’t familiar with this man.

From now on his reputation in Syracuse is all good.

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One Response to “Nobody Knows My Name”

  1. […] I wrote in a previous post that it’s difficult to classify Porter, but in his vocals one can hear Nat Cole, Ray Charles, Joe Williams and even Donny Hathaway. He effortlessly blends ballads, shout blues and the sacred sounds of the church. […]

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