I realise that I am an excitable lad who is prone to over exaggeration. So when I say that I have heard the new Don Hathaway mixed in with Teddy Pendergrass, you should probably take that with a pinch of salt. But I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a musical artist… it was probably Janelle Monae – and I don’t care what her sales figures say, I wasn’t wrong about her.
Gregory ‘Why the hell does he wear that hat’ Porter. I discovered this man on the 13 October 2014 when I was absent mind-idly flicking through my Apple TV and came across the iTunes Festival app and saw him with his silly hat. I gave his set a chance and, frankly, I was blown away. His voice had me at an instant.
Songs like On my way to Harlem, Liquid Spirit and 1960 what are great songs that invoke the 60s to 70s American civil rights era – but for me it’s his gentler side that elevates him into a truly unique singer. The first time I heard Hey Laura I cried – I’m not even ashamed to admit it. It is a deeply sad, beautiful but yet simple song which I have fallen head over heels for. And then I heard Wolfcry and the man repeated the trick – floods of tears. And then he did it again with No love dying and Be Good. I was a mess by the time his set finished.
I had forgotten that music could surprise and move me like this. I am not an authority on jazz but I think it is misleading to refer to him as a jazz artist. I feel like Porter is a soul-man through and through with bits of jazz, r’n’b and funk mixed in.
Suddenly, black music doesn’t look in such bad shape.