January 8, 2013

Gregory Porter - Mighty and smooth is this voice that is construed

Gregory Porter

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of going to a jazz concert that I had been anticipating since last October. In the school district that I work in, a parent of one of my students informed me about this jazz artist by the name of Gregory Porter. She knew I enjoyed jazz music, vocal and instrumental and thought I would enjoy going. I told her I was definitely interested and to remind me of the concert date.

Well this past Sunday I couldn't wait for it and it was held at a venue that I have heard of but not had the pleasure of experiencing first hand. Jazz at the Bistro has been a staple in the Saint Louis Jazz community for many years. It has been home to many popular jazz artists and has been known to showcase even underground talent that has yet to hit the big time. So you can only imagine my excitement of being able to go to this venue for the first time ever. I wanted to make sure my attire was acceptable so I just played it safe and went with a black ensemble from head to toe, with a matching shawl to complete. Makeup was done, hair was freshly washed and my jewelry (BeadsbyAree) was on point;)

 So I make my way down to Grand Ave, which is not only home to Jazz on the Bistro but also The Powell Symphony Hall, The Fox Theatre and even The Sheldon Hall. Also one of the Sweetie Pie locations is also nestled in this area as well.

Jazz on the Bistro

 After finding parking, I make a quick trek to my destination and make my way inside. I make  quick phone call to my friend to let her know that I have arrived and since I had not been here before I didn't know protocol in regards to letting the Maitre D know that I was there for a performance. So she lets me know that the tickets are under her name and that they will have them waiting at the podium when you check in. 

So I inform the Maitre D and he pulls the tickets and takes me to our table. Now while I am waiting on my friend to arrive I make conversation with a woman who is also at our table. She was also waiting on a friend of her's to show up as well. Now my friend Patricia, says she was so impressed with his music that she actually has seen ALL his performance that were scheduled at the Bistro. From the 3rd to the 6th, he had concerts scheduled at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. She went to BOTH shows on all those dates. So for her to do THAT I was thinking I must be in for a treat.

So Patricia makes it to the concert with 10 minutes to spare before the show starts. The lady who was sitting across from us, her lady friend has also made as well and we make small talk  before the performance starts.

The house lights go down to a low glow and then a gentleman makes it onto the stage to give an introduction of the band. Gregory Porter's band consists of a older looking Caucasian piano player whose hands should be bronzed because the way he tickles those ivories even now my mind still can't comprehend. His cello player was a brutha who could handle that instrument with a bow or his hands, he strung that thang like it was a woman, just that good. His drummer was another brutha whose percussion skills were so lightening fast I had to blink a few times because I swore his hands were a blur, I had to check myself. Now his saxophone player was a young lookin asian cat who, in Gregory's own words "had a citrus way about him. He likes to squeeze out a note so long its like squeezing a piece of fruit until you get out the last drop." That is how this man played his sax, and play it he did that night.

After the introduction tune from the band which was off the chain was finished, the gentleman that introduced the band comes back on stage and then introduces Gregory. I tell ya his ensemble was very nice. He has an interesting way about him with his choice of fashion but it fits him well. The main thing that stood out to me was his orange dress jacket and his grey vest with slacks. Very cool and relaxed look. I like it a lot. He also is known for wearing some type of cap and some type of wrap around his head. It definitely did draw my interest I wasn't sure if it was to hide any medical condition or maybe it was part of his signature look. You know, the way Michael Jackson had his glittering glove and socks? 

Well after taking a mental picture of his look, he opens his mouth and starts to sing. Or maybe I should say started to SANG (for those that don't know that means he put his foot in it and did the damn thang). Patricia had informed me when she listened to his music she felt it was a combination of Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr. and some other jazz artists. I tell ya when I heard him sing it felt like this strapping teddy bear was just singing his heart out in some of his songs but also knew how to practice restraint in others. It was just simply mind boggling. My feet were tapping and my hands were clapping in rythem with songs such as "1960 what?" On others such as "Skylark" I would close my eyes at times and just let the music drift over me. Then he would sing "Be Good" ( A lion's song), you have to listen to that song. It's a about a man changing to be with the woman he loves. Yea it definitely tugged at my heart strings.. 

Overall this performance was AMAZING! His range in regards to his style was just all over the place. After his performance was over we were informed that there would be CD's on sale on the upper level of the Bistro and we could also take pictures with him as well. We also found out that if anyone wanted to stay for the 9:30pm we were welcome to and I so did want to stay. But unfortunately I couldn't because I promised to help my dad with something once I got back home.

So Patricia and I made our way upstairs to take pictures with Gregory. He already had sold out of his CD's :( So we let him know that we had a wonderful time and looked forward to him returning back to our city in the future.

Patricia and Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter and myself

So after taking our pictures. I say my farewell to Patricia and she is of course staying for the second set that will start at 9:30pm. I make my way home and think about how I'm starting to find out that some of the best jazz I have heard is by artists that I have yet to discover.

So after getting home I take a look at the brochure that was given to me when I first arrived at the Bistro for the concert. It has the Jazz season for the 2012-13 year. So I'm going to take a look through when I get the chance and check it out. I want to take in more concerts this year and from now on.


Jazz in Saint Louis 2012-13 season


Until the next episode....

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