Since the inception of the Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival 4 years ago, festival director Ian Bowden had his sights on securing the voice of jazz Mr Gregory Porter and last night the vision became reality as we presented an exclusive pre-2015 festival performance at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. Read our review here...
Retro-Latin swing-meisters The Violet Jive kicked off the evening on Wednesday 24th June with a fantastic set delivering infectious rhythms, guitar hooks and vocal harmonies – these guys are destined for big things. The stage was set for the performance everyone was waiting for; we welcomed Gregory Porter and his band on to stage and they were quite simply awesome.
This intimate performance could have been viewed at a ‘warm-up’ before he performs tonight at Blenheim Palace with Sir Van Morrison and then hot foots it to Glastonbury, but this ‘cool’ musical genius’ performance was ‘hot’ right from the off. With his fellow musicians, a group of extraordinary talented artists, you knew it was going to be a special evening of musical entertainment immediately as he set foot on the stage.
Gregory spoke of being by the water’s edge at Bexhill-on-Sea and how water features in many of his songs. His wonderful baritone voice delivered powerful performances of Liquid Spirit and Water Under Bridges. The voice of jazz equally captivated people with renditions of Hey Laura, Musical Genocide, 1960 What? Clap your Hands.
Gregory Porter is charismatic and humorous, his voice is powerful and emotional; he had the audience rocking and chanting and in a standing ovation. Equally his band members were praised for their talent and skill following jaw dropping solos.
What a band Porter had working behind him. Yosuke Sato the sax man showed himself to be an emerging musical monster last night, and the crowd responded in kind. The same applied to pianist Chip Crawford, whose solos were mesmerising. When bassist Jahmal Nichols and drummer Emanuel Harrold got their solo turn they delivered bounce, swing, rock and soul simultaneously.
The night belonged to Gregory, though, who drew deeply from “Liquid Spirit” but also showcased parts of his back catalogue in true lyrical depth and style.
We were delighted to have this opportunity to present a true jazz superstar in such an intimate setting, also made possible thanks to the evening’s sponsor Future Climate Info and our supporting sponsors the Old Borough Arms, in Rye.
A BIG thank you to all of the Rye Jazz Festival team who assisted on the evening… you are all STARS. We would also like to thank the entire team at the De La Warr Pavlion for all of their superb assistance as our venue partner.
Posted on 25/06/2015 by Ian Bowden
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