By photojournalist Jayne Drooger
There are sounds, music and voices that soothe the soul. For me, and apparently a packed house at The Floridian Social club on Friday night, Gregory Porter is that voice. During a worldwide pandemic it was his voice, his music that helped me through. From the first time I heard him I was hooked. I would not have believed it then that only 2 years later I would not only have the honor to hear him sing right here in St. Pete but to photograph the show!
Live on Central began with one guitar solo from singer-song writer Jennifer White an alumni and ambassador of the Arts Conservatory for Teens (ACT). Alex Harris, our very own soul man, hosting the show then started it off with his own set including songs like “Rollin”, “Entangled” and Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness”, delivered with his beautiful voice that sounds as if he’s channeling the likes of Otis or Sam Cooke.
Having served two terms as Vice President of the Florida chapter of The Recording of Arts and Sciences (Grammys) along with fellow member Gregory Porter who shares the same booking agent, Alex is using his philanthropic talents to bring this program To St. Pete to benefit ACT.
Gregory Porter is a two-time Grammy winner for Best Jazz Vocal Album of the year, including seven Grammy nominations and he did not disappoint his fans in attendance. His soulful baritone and song stylings not only kept the audience on their feet singing along but clapping in time and many times eyes closed in total appreciation. He performed his Grammy winning hits such as “Take me to the Alley” “Holding On “and included some classic Motown numbers such as “My Girl” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”. The musicians in the band were flawless, energetic and on point in their performance giving the fans an unforgettable evening. Gregory Porter is currently in the middle of his 2022 Tour taking him across the United States, Mexico and Canada, followed by tour dates in Europe for the completion of the second half of his schedule in November.
Gregory Porter – vocals Tivon Pennicott – tenor sax Albert “Chip” Crawford – piano Jahmal Nichols – double bass Emanuel Harrold – drums Ondrej Pivec – Hammond organ