You know it's a big year when you play the Tonight Show one month and the Royal Albert Hall the next. When you're being interviewed by Tavis Smiley and nominated for Grammys along with Beyonce and Anita Baker you know you're on a roll. That's the kind of 2013 Gregory Porter brought with him to Syracuse tonight.
The Legends of Jazz Series produced by Frank Malfitano brought the original sound of this soulful baritone to Onondaga Communtiy College tonight. Musical fans jammed into Storer Auditorium. The intimate setting could hardly contain the big sound of Porter and his combo.
His lead off selection "No Love Dyin' Here" off his hit album "Liquid Spirit" got the evening rolling tonight. These songs have been dominating my Spotify playlist over the last couple of weeks just as Porter's "Be Good" and "Water" did last year.
Central New York was treated to Porter's performance at the Syracuse Jazz Fest in June of 2012. That was point when his dedication, creativity and musicality began to pay off. He grew up a fan of Nat "King" Cole, but his gospel and R&B sensibilities grant him far more power and range than the subtle crooner ever had.
He also excels as a composer of original music. As much as he is associated with jazz he also has an ear for melody and popular music. I suspect one day he will write and perform a movie theme or some other cross over hit that will have his name on the lips of all of America.
Tonight he belonged to his Syracuse audience. They were treated to a world wide talent who is just finding his groove.
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