NYCROPHONE was in the house, well – in the park, for Gregory Porter’s SummerStage appearance August 3rd, 2014. Needless to say, it was an experience. If you appreciate Jazz and Soul music, Gregory already is, or probably will be, on your playlist after reading Mocha Carter’s review while listening to the YouTube playlist we’ve created for your convenience.
Enjoy, share and comment! To find out more about Gregory Porter, visit his NYCROPHONE Artist Page.
We arrived at Central Park’s SummerStage and collected our press passes, scurrying to find the press box. There was a small area directly in front of the stage but a three song minimum for each artist, for press to stand there. I was not interested in doing that. I wanted to sit and enjoy the show without having to move about too much.
We made our way to the bleachers and the usher exclaimed, “This is your area! This is where you should be!” We laughed and took our seats.
After stepping in a puddle while wearing flip flops, I was a little less than pleased when I realized I’d have to sit through the performances of two other acts before Gregory Porter performed.
While I had heard of Revive before, I was not there to hear the “big band” or Igmar Thomas and I certainly didn’t want to sit through all those songs. Alas, I had no choice and they performed. I rolled my eyes as they geared up to do a third song. I couldn’t help but tap my feet and sway to the tunes. They were good!
For another song they brought out Chris Turner, who is a back-up singer for Bilal. Together they performed “Levels,” one of Bilal’s more recent songs. This made me happy. I couldn’t help but smile but I was getting antsy because it was getting cooler, the sun had set, I feared rain, and Porter hadn’t performed yet. And THEN, when I thought I couldn’t take one more song, they brought out Robert Glasper!!! I screamed with excitement! (If you have not heard of him I implore you to check out ‘Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio, one and two.)
FINALLY, the moment arrived… His 6ft plus frame walked onto the stage sporting the funny hat that has become synonymous with Gregory Porter. I clapped my hands and squealed with delight as the crowd went wild. He wasted no time and went directly into “Painted on Canvas,” “No Love Dying” and “Musical Genocide” which he ended with a high jump kick. The crowd roared.
The energy and emotion could be felt throughout the park as we sang along, people of all ages, economic and ethnic backgrounds. The inflections and obvious gospel influence present throughout his performance of “Liquid Spirit” and Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free” We laughed as he said, “Now yall know my mama was a preacher. You can tell huh?”
We groaned as he came to his final selection but people danced and sang in the makeshift aisles to “1960 What!” I looked around smiling at the diversity of the crowd. Old and young, black and white. I watched a white teen dance off beat with his mom. I watched an older black couple sing and gaze into each others eyes.
His voice mixed with the big band and Terrence Blanchard, going crazy on the trumpet, was the perfect combination for a wonderful evening of jazz in the park.
There is a certain, simple charm as his voice caresses the music. There is a certain warmth in the smooth voice that pours from the soul of his large frame. He’s like a bear that you just want to hug while he sings you a lullaby of poetry that is simple and pure. I am a fan and I would see him a million times more.
– Mocha Carter –