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【 Live Report 】TD Toronto Jazz: Gregory Porter
By Creators’ Lounge staff Kayo Itoh （Torocal Girls / トロカル女子）
The Toronto jazz festival was held in City of Toronto from June 24th to July 3rd. The main stage was in front of city hall which. In addition a lot of bars joined the festival as a venue.
The main stage established outside, but it was a seat-style to be able to enjoy music relaxedly. Also there were tables in the back; it seemed to enjoy music in a local bar while facing each other in couple and friends.
In the main stage of June 28 when I went, a new singer Kandace Springs and Gregory porter performed.
Kandace Springs, she is a new singer from Nashville. Prince loved her fascinating voice. She performed the day as an opening act of Gregory Porter, but the audiences were totally attracted to her performance. A lot of audience gave her a standing ovation. It was beyond opening act. Moreover when she was talking, she is like a girl. She said “I am sorry I left all my CDs in Nashville if you wanna get one please check on Amazon!”. She made the audience laugh. It was so cute talk. There was a nice gap between professional performance and friendly talk. It made her more attractive.
Gregory porter is the artist who won Grammy Awards. Not to mention, when he came on the stage, the audience became so excited. In my opinion, why he became so popular artist, I think he has a great team of musician. Of course he is a very talented but when he sings a song with the band, That became incredibly amazing. I felt they trust each other, love each other, and respect each other. That is why thier sounds are so beautiful. Their music is beyond ages and genres. They made us relax and excite at the same time.
You should check their concerts. Definitely it is worth and you will have a great time.
Venue: Nathan Phillips Square – Toronto Star Stage
Mainstage Concerts Media sponsor: JAZZ.FM91
Date: Tue Jun 28 8:30pm
Ticket Price: Reserved $56.50, Lounge GA $50.00, Main Floor GA $45.00
Buy Tickets: Ticketpro Ticket Information: 1-888-655-9090
Raised in California, Porter’s mother was a minister, and he cites the Bakersfield Southern Gospel sound, as well as his mother’s Nat King Cole record collection, as fundamental influences on his own sound. Porter began singing in small jazz clubs in San Diego while attending San Diego State University on a football scholarship, where he played outside linebacker. Eventually it was music that Porter chose to pursue full-time at the encouragement of local musicians including his mentor Kamau Kenyatta.
Kenyatta invited Porter to visit him in the studio in Los Angeles, where he was producing flutist Hubert Laws’ album Remembers the Unforgettable Nat King Cole. When Laws overheard Porter singing along while he was tracking the Charlie Chaplin song “Smile,” he was so impressed with the young singer that he decided to include Porter on the album.
Another fortunate twist of fate was the presence that day of Laws’ sister, Eloise, a singer who was soon to join the cast of a new musical theater production It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues. Porter had minimal theatrical experience but was cast in one of the show’s lead roles when the play opened in Denver, and he eventually followed it to Off-Broadway and then Broadway, where The New York Times, in its 1999 rave review, mentioned Porter among the show’s “powerhouse line up of singers.” It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues went on to earn both Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations that year.
Porter eventually put down roots in Brooklyn, and in 2010 released his debut album Water (Motéma Music), which earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. His sophomore album Be Good (Motéma Music) followed in 2012 and earned him his second GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance.
Despite having now recorded or shared the stage with the likes of Van Morrison, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Nicola Conte, Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams and David Murray, Porter remains grounded and humbled by all the new accolades. “Sometimes I haven’t had a chance to absorb and enjoy some of the audiences that I’ve been in front of, especially some of the icons of the music like Wynton and Herbie,” Porter says, “And they give me so much open-arm love; I couldn’t fathom that two years ago.” With the release of Liquid Spirit, Porter’s soaring career will surely ascend even higher.
“…sings songs you can go away humming.”
– The Guardian
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