Opening Night of the Miami Nice Jazz Festival Featuring Gregory Porter at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Friday, October 25
The Miami Nice Jazz Festival and South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center are co-presenting jazz vocalist Gregory Porter on Friday, October 25 at 8pm. The event marks the Opening Night of the second Miami Nice Jazz Festival. Tickets are $25-$46 and are available at www.smdcac.org or by calling the Box Office at 786-573-5300. The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center is located at 10950 SW 211 Street, Cutler Bay. For more information about the festival visit www.MiamiNiceJazzFestival.com.
Gregory Porter is an American jazz and soul singer, songwriter and actor from LA, now living in Brooklyn. He has received two Grammy nominations, one for his debut album, Water, released in 2010 by Harlem-based label Motéma Music and second for his sophomore release, Be Good. Reviewing his star-making performance at this summer’s Newport Jazz Festival, NPR claims, “Here’s the next great male jazz singer. The forthcoming Liquid Spirit is great, but he’s even better live, surrounded with a long-running band that knows what he’s after and enables it splendidly. As he might say, clap your hands now.”
More About Gregory Porter
At the start of 2010, the buzz about Los Angeles-born and now Brooklyn-based jazz/soul vocalist Gregory Porter was a strong, steady murmur, fueled by a growing crowd of fans who’d caught his performance in the Tony and Drama Desk Award-nominated Broadway hit, It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues, or his weekly stints at the Harlem club, St. Nick’s Pub.
By the end of 2012, with his second CD, Be Good, having earned a Grammy®- nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance, the buzz had built to a roar, with the incredible accolades showered on Porter showing no sign of decreasing either in volume or enthusiasm. As the year drew to a close, Porter’s music topped an extraordinary number of “Best of 2012” lists in the US and the UK, including NPR’s “Best Music of 2012” and “100 Favorite Songs of 2012”; iTunes “Jazz Album of the Year”; and Soul Train’s “Top 10 Albums of 2012”. Be Good was also named Soul Tracks’ “Album of the Year.”
Based on the groundwork laid by the volume of positive critical and public response to his ‘Best Jazz Vocal’ Grammy®-nominated debut CD, Water (2010), Be Good met out of the box success. The track “Real Good Hands” was selected by iTunes as its Single of the Week, propelling the track to the #1 position on iTunes jazz chart for several weeks, and sending it soaring into the Top 100 overall album chart the first week of release. Another track from the album, “On My Way to Harlem” was selected by the Starbucks Digital Network as its Pick of the Week.
In the ten months since its release, Be Good ranked up an impressive showing on both US and international charts. In Billboard, the album reached #6 on the Jazz Album chart and #12 on the Heatseekers chart.
Be Good is a musical compendium of groove-driven delights, ranging from quiet ballads to up-tempo burners, from romantic charmers to powerful, blues-tinged anthems. Porter is surrounded by the core of his powerhouse working band, with whom he recorded his Grammy®- nominated debut, and who have performed with him for over three years now: Chip Crawford on piano, Aaron James on bass, Emanuel Harrold on drums, and Yosuke Sato on alto sax. Under the sure hand of producer Brian Bacchus (Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones, Joe Lovano, Randy Weston, etc.), Porter and the band rise to new heights on Be Good, further fueled by richly emotional horn arrangements by the CD’s associate producer and musical director, Kamau Kenyatta.
A disarmingly sincere performer, with a groove that never quits, a voice of incredible virtuosity and a seemingly universal appeal as a songwriter, Porter’s lyrics often speak as dreams do, in the languages of image and emotion, to communicate thoroughly though not always directly. His objective as a songwriter, he says, is “to create a sincere message about my feelings on love, culture, family and our human joys and pain.” Even in conversation he leans toward the poetic: “Just like the song ‘Painted on Canvas’ says, ‘I’m ‘made of the pigment of paint that is put upon’ …trying to be honest and organic in my colors that I show.” Be Good clearly attains that goal, and also proves to have a wide palette of colors to show.
The soulful spirit of the ‘70s, epitomized by such artists as Lou Rawls and the Chi Lites, echoes forth in style on Porter’s “Real Good Hands,” a track that makes it clear that Porter is a complete romantic at heart. On the intriguing ballad, “The Way You Want to Live,” a song of dangerous personal choices that he dedicated to Amy Winehouse during a performance at the Blue Note in New York just days after her untimely death.
Some critics are inspired to comment on Porter as a new “king of jazz,” and a “leader of the pack,” a performer of extraordinary presence who has been compared with the greatest of the greats, such as Joe Williams, Nat Cole, Donny Hathaway, and Marvin Gaye. As musically solid as his recordings are and as powerful and honest as Porter’s magnificent voice is, it may just well be the brilliance of his poetry and the unguarded depth of his emotional delivery that is most fueling his rapid rise to fame.
About Miami Nice Jazz Festival
The Miami Nice Jazz Festival is a partnership between Sister Cities Nice, France and Miami, Florida, joining forces under the leadership of the Festival’s Founder and CEO Philippe Pautesta-Herder and Nice-based renowned concert producer Panda Events. The Festival kicks off Miami French Weeks, an initiative of the French-American Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate of France in Miami to promote French culture in South Florida.
About the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center serves as a showcase for the performing and media arts, welcoming people from all backgrounds and economic means. The facility includes 961 seat state-of-the- art theater, which features a fly tower, orchestra pit, front of house spaces (box office, lobby, concessions, etc.) and back of house support spaces (dressing rooms, storage and work areas, administrative offices, etc.). The site also includes an activities building which houses lab / experimental theaters, and may be used for classrooms, rehearsals, and small-scale performances. A beautiful outdoor plaza allows for festivals, art shows, and other outdoor activities. The concert lawn “back yard” slopes to the Black Creek Canal, and can host outdoor concerts, performances and events.
The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, designed by an internationally-acclaimed design team that included Arquitectonica International, Inc. (architects), Fisher Dachs Associates, Inc. (theater design), Artec Consultants, Inc. (acoustics), and AMS Planning & Research Corp. (theater management), provides, for the first time, a state-of-the-art cultural venue and community gathering place in the southern part of Miami-Dade County. The Center features prominent works of art created by Miami artist Robert Chambers who was commissioned by Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places program to design a kinetic light wall and sculptures for the theater. The Center is an integral part of the economic and cultural development of the area, offering quality artistic programming and community accessibility.
The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center is managed by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, with funding support from the Office of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. The Center is dedicated to presenting and supporting arts and culture and providing access to the arts to the entire Miami-Dade County community.
The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council develop cultural excellence, diversity and participation throughout Miami-Dade County by strategically creating and promoting opportunities for artists and cultural organizations, and our residents and visitors who are their audiences. The Department directs the Art in Public Places program and serves its board, the Art in Public Places Trust, commissioning, crating, maintaining and promoting the County’s art collection. The Department also manages, programs and operates the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, a campus of state-of-the-art cultural facilities in Cutler Bay, as well as Miami-Dade County Auditorium, Joseph Caleb Auditorium and the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, all dedicated to presenting and supporting excellence in the arts for the entire community. Through staff, board and programmatic resources, the Department, the Council and the Trust promote, coordinate and support Miami-Dade County’s more than 1,000 not-for-profit cultural organizations as well as thousands of resident artists through grants, technical assistance, public information and interactive community planning. The Department receives funding through the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, The Children’s Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Other support and services are provided by TicketWeb for the Culture Shock Miami program, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, the South Florida Cultural Consortium and the Tourist Development Council.