As Gregory Porter tells his definition of a full life, standing tall with his eyes glued to the audience singing “Imitation of Life”, there’s a sincerity heard in his voice.
Watching him perform as the opening act for Esperanza Spalding on June 25, 2013 in the Winspear Centre, he fills the space with his soulful jazz that takes the audience back to the days when gents like Nat King Cole ruled billboard charts. While Porter’s performance shows the audience that he could have stood toe to toe with men like Cole in those golden jazz days, his music moves beyond idyllic romance sung about in standards like “When I Fall in Love”. The warm tones of his voice sing to the audience about the struggles that go hand in hand with wanting to love — making him a man of our times, as he helps the audience think about our life through his lyrics.
Throughout the night, the audience listens in anticipation for his insights as he performs songs from his albums, Water (2010) and Be Good (2012) — about appreciating the past in “On My Way to Harlem”, to facing the injustice of inequality in “1960 What?”, to acknowledging complicated emotions from wanting someone to love you in “Be Good (Lion’s Song)”. From the moment Porter opens the show with “Imitation of Life” he gives the audience his very best. This is a presentation of a man who sings the truth.