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Susquehanna Life

Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist comes to Weis Center Feb. 20

Feb 03, 2015 10:22AM ● By Erica Shames

Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter will perform Friday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University - Lewisburg, PA.

Porter's new Grammy Award-winning album, Liquid Spirit (2014), marks his Blue Note Records debut. Its release comes on the heels of two critically acclaimed indie label albums that quickly propelled him to the upper echelon of contemporary male jazz singers.

The singer's first album, Water, earned a Grammy nomination in 2010 for Best Jazz Vocal Album; his second, Be Good, followed in 2012 and earned a second Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater praised Porter in the pages of JazzTimes by saying, "We haven't had a male singer like him in a long time. He's such a wonderful writer. He tells these great stories."

The New York Times says, "Gregory Porter has most of what you want in a male jazz singer, and maybe a thing or two you didn't know you wanted."

Raised in California, Porter cites the Bakersfield Southern Gospel sound, as well as his mother's Nat King Cole record collection, as fundamental influences on his own sound. He began singing in small jazz clubs while attending San Diego State University on a football scholarship. At the encouragement of local musicians including his mentor Kamau Kenyatta, Porter chose to pursue  music full-time.

Kenyatta invited Porter to visit him in the studio in Los Angeles, where he was producing flutist Hubert Laws' album Hubert Laws Remembers the Unforgettable Nat King Cole. When Laws overheard Porter singing along while he was tracking the Charlie Chaplin song "Smile," he was so impressed with the young singer that he decided to include Porter on the album.

Despite having recorded or shared the stage with the likes of Van Morrison, Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Nicola Conte, and David Murray, Porter remains grounded and humbled by all the new accolades, saying, "Sometimes I haven't had a chance to absorb and enjoy some of the audiences that I've been in front of, especially some of the icons of the music like Wynton and Herbie. And they give me so much open-arm love; I couldn't fathom that two years ago."

This tour engagement of Gregory Porter is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation as part of its Jazz Touring Network with support from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Tickets for the performance are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 62+, $10 for youth 18 and under, $10 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $10 for non-Bucknell students and $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2).

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000.

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