Gregory Porter

04/12/21, 19:30

Singer Gregory Porter can fill jazz clubs and the world’s biggest concert halls with his soft baritone voice. He arrives in Brno during the advent period to return to his roots – back to his days as an unknown young singer in American sanctuaries. His future concert at St. Jacob promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And of course, Gregory’s court Hammond player, Ondřej Pivec, can’t be miss this.

Gregory Porter offers exactly what you would expect from a jazz singer, composer, actor and poet, on top of that you can also look forward to something more distinctive and hard-to-define, something extra. Porter’s image is defined by a mysterious cap that he never takes off, the mystery is almost perfect. It doesn’t matter where Porter performs. Whether it’s a jazz club in New York, a Brooklyn church, or an extraordinary concert hall in some European metropolis. It will cause quite a stir everywhere with its graduated mix of author compositions and carefully chosen standards from jazz, soul, gospel and R&B.

Porter grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., he was studying architecture and theatrical and musical acting, to which he devoted himself, in addition to singing in churches and jazz clubs, until 2010, when he debuted with the hugely successful album Water, he was 40 years old then. That was the moment when someone asked him for the first time: “Where the hell have you been?”, a question he is being asked regularly from time to time until today.

Porter knows literature very well, that’s why he can accurately target social moods in lyrics, go deep back to childhood memories, revisit the unhappy history of African-Americans, or gleefully toy with the idea of jamming together with legendary jazz musicians and bluesmen from whom he borrows tracks that he sings. His performances are full of love themes and love songs, which are mostly devoted to his wife. Such songs represent the most intense moments of his concerts.

For many years, Czech Hammond player Ondřej Pivec has had an irreplaceable place in Gregory’s band. In 2010, he featured for the first time in a solo project at the JazzFestBrno Festival, 11 years later he arrives on his native land as an equal teammate of one of the biggest global jazz stars – the man that Dee Dee Bridgewater described as a born storyteller. What stories will the second Advent Saturday bring to St. Jacob? That can’t be sure for now, but it’s going to be worth it, we know that pretty much.