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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Smooth operator Porter wows Pavilion crowd


Early on in the concert he confessed he was having trouble pronouncing the word ‘Llangollen’.

But soon afterwards he was slipping the name of the town effortlessly into the lyrics of one of his songs and receiving a massive hoot of approval from the capacity audience for his trouble.

And that’s precisely how Gregory Porter handles everything … oh so smoooothly.

* Gregory Porter on stage last night.
Picture: Jeanette Robinson Images
The Californian singer/songwriter, who was starring in last night’s concert at the Eisteddfod, has a voice like double cream which he poured liberally and extremely pleasingly over an eclectic mix of modern jazz, soul, R&B and even an old MOR hit by one of his heroes, Nat King Cole.

Many of the numbers were from his own pen and the first few bars of them brought whoops of recognition and approval from the partisan crowd.

Everything was handled with supreme ease, from the up-tempo stuff to the slow and soulful tunes designed to make you think about what life and love is all about.

When he was swingin’ he was really going for it and when he being dreamy he was so laid back that you thought he might fall over. And we lapped up every nuance.

Out front of his masterful band of musicians, on two types of piano, drums, trumpet, guitar and sax, he turned a vast Pavilion auditorium into an intimate jazz club and all that was missing was the odd cloud of tobacco smoke.

When he left the stage at the end of two halves of pure enjoyment there was a clamour for his return and then the band itself did its own encore which I reckon you don’t see too often.

Performers who do this well at Llangollen tend to get invited back again and that could well be the case with the marvellous Mr Porter.              

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