Written by Becca Pulliam from WBGO-FM
The Czech Republic capital of Prague is home to the annual Strings of Autumn International Music Festival where, in October 2012, soulful jazz singer Gregory Porter brought down the house. Applause between songs ran for a minute or longer.
Porter sang his anthem “1960 What?” to a “Compared to What” beat, and threw in Nat Adderley‘s “Work Song.” Porter even put a little protest into his own song, “Real Good Hands,” as he petitioned 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.”
His first two albums, Water and Be Good, were on the Motéma label; the next will be on Blue Note. And this month, Porter is invited back to the Strings of Spring Festival in Prague. He’ll be there on March 14.
“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”
- “Real Good Hands”
- “1960 What”
- “What A Wonderful World” (encore)
- Gregory Porter, vocals
- Yohsuke Satoh, sax
- Chip Crawford, piano
- Aaron James, bass
- Emmanuel Harold, drums
Thanks to Klára Vlková of Radio 1 Prague, recording engineer Vladimir Srb.