February 22, 2018
The last time Gregory Porter performed at SCMC he was fresh off the GRAMMY award-winning stage for this 2013 Blue Note debut Album Liquid Spirit and he took home the award again in 2017 for Best Jazz Vocal Album with his 2017 release “Take Me to the Alley.”
An artist whose music is at once timeless yet utterly of its time, Gregory Porter solidifies his standing as his generation’s most soulful jazz singer-songwriters. Porter has time and again demonstrated an innate ability to transcend genre and connect with audiences from all walks of life, and his new music reflects the singer’s continued and mindful growth as an artist and as a person amidst the constant touring demands that have resulted from tremendous international success.
Liquid Spirit – which followed the critically-acclaimed and GRAMMY-nominated albums Water (2010) and Be Good (2012) – quickly grew into a global phenomenon, selling a million albums worldwide and becoming the most streamed jazz album of all-time with over 20 million streams. The album has sold Platinum in the U.K. and Germany, and Gold in France, The Netherlands, and Austria. In the U.S. Porter made his first-ever national TV appearances on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live while both ESQUIRE and NPR Music declared him “America’s Next Great Jazz Singer.” Liquid Spirit also won Porter his first GRAMMY Award in 2014 for Best Jazz Vocal Album while also earning him a Best Traditional R&B Performance nomination for his affecting ballad “Hey Laura.”
In the Fall of 2015 Porter finally found the time to return to the studio in New York City to record Take Me To The Alley. As he’s done on his previous three albums, Porter teamed with producer Kamau Kenyatta to craft a collection of stirring originals that juxtapose the personal and political. His partnership with Kenyatta started in the mid-1990s when he was a student at San Diego State University (Porter began his college years playing football on a full athletic scholarship before a shoulder injury diverted him into a music career). It was through Kenyatta’s mentorship that Porter’s professional musical career began.
As Porter polishes his artistry as one of our most heartfelt singer-songwriters on Take Me to the Alley, his burgeoning body of work will continue to give voice to its modern times while simultaneously echoing the legacy of jazz and soul’s yesteryear and informing generations of musicians to come.
ST. CECILIA MUSIC CENTER
24 Ransom NE Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616.459.2224