Gregory Porter's new album, Liquid Spirit, is out this week from Blue Note. Porter is making his career in a time-tested way. With two Grammy-nominated albums from a small label named Motema Music and a lot of touring — international touring — now he's gotten himself signed to a major labor.
On this JazzSet, Porter's singing at the annual Strings of Autumn International Music Festival in Prague. The Czech audience loves him! Applause between songs is running a minute or more.
He revives a great era in political lyrics with his anthem "1960 What?" ("the Motor City's burnin'") to a "Compared to What" beat, and Nat Adderley's "Work Song." Porter even puts a little protest in his "Real Good Hands," as he petitions a future father-in-law for his daughter's hand.
It's that nexus of hard-working, honorable and romantic that's such a sweet spot for the baritone voice of Gregory Porter. And he has a real good band, too.
Porter's first two albums have been nominated for Grammys. In 2011, he was among host Dee Dee Bridgewater's competition for Best Jazz Vocal Album (that time, she won). In 2012, his track "Real Good Hands" was in the running for Best Traditional R&B Performance. The winner was Beyoncé. Gregory wrote to his fans: "I will keep trying."
This Prague concert from one year ago was part of a European tour. Some fans saw more than one show.
"Vienna was great," a fan named Renate Volst blogged last fall. "But in Prague, Gregory Porter and his musicians blew me right into a universe of vividness, love and devotion. After so many concerts, traveling so many months nearly every day to another town, they are performing as if there is only this one particular concert!"
- "Be Good"
- "Magic Cup"
- "Work Song" (Nat Adderley)
- "Real Good Hands"
- "1960 What"
- "What A Wonderful World" (Geo. D. Weiss & Robert Thiele)
- Gregory Porter, vocals
- Yosuke Satoh, sax
- Chip Crawford, piano
- Aaron James, bass
- Emanuel Harrold, drums
Thanks to Klára Vlková of Radio 1 Prague, recording engineer Vladimir Srb.