FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 25, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | [email protected] | 480-874-4626
Jazz singer Gregory Porter returns to Scottsdale
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — The earth is about to rumble again beneath Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts as celebrated jazz vocalist Gregory Porter returns on Feb. 9.
The man’s bone-deep baritone has been likened to “a hug from above.” It has also earned him a string of Grammy nominations, including two wins in the past decade for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
“The first time I heard Gregory Porter was in a rather inconspicuous setting: in a hotel bar in midtown Manhattan, at a conference,” said Gerd Wuestemann, president and CEO of Scottsdale Arts. “His label had set up a showcase for their new artists. I was chatting with agents, barely paying attention to the lineup of performers rotating across the stage. Then Gregory started singing and I dropped my glass, stopped talking and perked up my ears. And literally everyone in the bar did the same! It was an incredible moment — when you hear something truly extraordinary for the first time, and everyone in the room is pulled into its spell.”
Porter’s most recent studio release is the Grammy-nominated “All Rise,” marking a return to original songwriting following the singer’s 2017 Nat King Cole tribute. “All Rise” features heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues and gospel.
The Grammy-stacking star — who’s dined with Stevie Wonder and sung for the Queen of England — remains blue-collar by blood. One of eight siblings raised by a minister mother in a poor part of Bakersfield, California, the young Porter found his voice both by singing in church and by studying his mother’s Nat King Cole records at home.
“There’s his honesty of expression, creating a deeply moving and profound emotional connection—and, of course, his magnificent, sonorous baritone voice,” Wuestemann said. “Gregory defies categories. Yeah, he’s a jazz singer, but he’s just as much a blues and R&B artist. Growing up in Bakersfield, there’s even a whiff of the Bakersfield sound swirling through his music — remnants of Merle Haggard and honky tonks.”
Porter had an acclaimed role in the original 1999 Broadway cast of “It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues” and even staged his own “Nat King Cole & Me” musical in 2004. Both of his early indie albums — 2010’s “Water” and 2012’s “Be Good” — received Grammy nominations and paved the way for his world-beating 2013 Blue Note debut, “Liquid Spirit,” which won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Then 2016’s “Take Me to the Alley” took home another win.
Valley audience members now have the chance to hear that Grammy-winning baritone in person at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale, Arizona. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9. Tickets start at $45. For information, visit ScottsdalePerformingArts.org/events or call 480-499-TKTS (8587).
All guests age 12 and older must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken within 72 hours of the performance date, along with photo ID to attend performances. As an alternative, guests may provide proof of full vaccination. Masks are highly encouraged to protect artists, staff and patrons. For full health and safety protocols, visit ScottsdalePerformingArts.org/covid-19-response.