By Brooklyn Reader

January 27, 2014, 9:40 am

 

Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter
Photo: jazzstl.org

Finally, victory is his!

Gregory Porter and his album “Liquid Spirits,” produced by Brian Bacchus, won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, which aired Sunday night.

But this wasn’t Porter’s first brush with Grammy fame: His debut album, Water, was nominated for a Grammy in 2011 for Best Jazz Vocal album. And then the title track from his sophomore release Be Good, which contains many of Porter’s own compositions, was also nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance at the 2013 Grammy Awards.

Neither of the earlier nominations garnered a win. But what they did garner for Porter was a wildly loyal fan base and national acclaim– a fitting crescendo for his most recent win.

Bed-Stuy resident Gregory Porter was born in Los Angeles, California and was raised in Bakersfield, California. His mother was a minister. So his roots in music, like many of America’s soulful greats, were steeped deep in the church.

Although Porter has been singing most of his life, his first big break came five years ago, when Wynton Marsalis selected the then-unknown singer to perform a residency with his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter
Photo: last.fm

Since then, it has been all fast-forward, no pause for Porter: Between his past Grammy nominations and his local live shows, he quickly has become one of New York’s veritable jazz darlings.

Porter began singing and acting in stage plays. He was also a member of the original Broadway cast of It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues.

Sandra Reeves-Phillips, Mississippi Charles Bevel, Felicia Fields and Gregory Porter in Florida Stage's "Low Down Dirty Blues.

Sandra Reeves-Phillips, Mississippi Charles Bevel, Felicia Fields and Gregory Porter in Florida Stage’s “Low Down Dirty Blues.

Porter has performed at the esteemed London Jazz Festival, has toured the UK with Jools Holland and his Orchestra; played the Cheltenham, Nice, North Sea, Oslo, Worldwide and Monterey Festivals and sung with Carole King for BBC4.

Porter’s “Liquid Spirit,”– his debut album for Blue Note Records– beat out another rising jazz vocalist talent Cécile McLorin Salvant, as well as albums by Andy Bey, Lorraine Feather and Tierney Sutton.

Porter also was nominated in the traditional R&B category, for his single “Hey Laura,” but lost out to Gary Clark Jr.

 


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