THE PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST ANNOUNCES
GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING ARTIST
FEBRUARY 22, 2017 | 8:00 PM | AUGUST WILSON CENTER
Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces Grammy award-winning artist, Gregory Porter will perform February 22, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. at the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Don’t miss this acclaimed singer in his return to the August Wilson Center.
The New York Times calls Gregory Porter “a jazz singer of thrilling presence, a booming baritone with a gift for earthy refinement and soaring uplift.” Deemed a disarmingly sincere jazz and R&B performer with a groove that never quits, Porter possesses a voice of incredible virtuosity and seemingly universal appeal as a songwriter. Winner of JazzFM’s International Jazz Artist of the Year in 2015 and a 2014 nominee of the BBC’s International Artist of the Year, Gregory Porter is considered to be one of the most important voices on the international music scene. His first album was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2010 Grammy Awards, and his album Liquid Spirit went on to win the award in 2014. Porter has also appeared on Broadway, starring in the original cast of It Ain’t Nothin’ But Blues.
Porter released his newest album, Take Me To The Alley, in May of 2016. On his new album, Porter continues to redefine what it means to be a jazz singer, pushing the boundaries of jazz singing. Driven by his working band of many years and the producer, Kamau Kenyatta, he unites jazz, pop and R&B as a single, unified language.
Porter returns to the Cultural District having previously performed at the 2014 JazzLive International Festival, the Cabaret at Theater Square, and as part of the 2015-16 Soul Sessions Series. During his last performance at the August Wilson Center in 2015, Porter was presented with the Jazz Journalist Association Male Vocalist of the Year award.
About the Artist
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 the 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,” the flutist was so impressed with the young singer that he decided to include Porter on the album.
Another fortunate twice of fate was the presence in the studio 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, which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. His sophomore album Be Good followed in 2012 and earned him his second Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B performance.
Tickets ($65) are available online at www.TrustArts.org, by phone at (412) 456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, located at 655 Penn Avenue.
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.